OBX Commercial Real Estate Newsletter: July 2021

by Larry Lombardi, on Jul 7, 2021 7:00:00 AM


OBX CRE Spotlight

Randy Royal

Principal and licensed professional engineer


Quick Facts

  • Live in the Great Bridge section of Chesapeake
  • Grew up in Durham, NC
  • Married almost 40 years (in October of this year) to my college sweetheart, Mollie
  • Two kids and four grandkids (currently) all living in Raleigh, NC
  • Graduated from NC State University with a BS in civil engineering

How long have you been working in commercial real estate?

I am in my 42nd year of practice in civil engineering consultation for land development.
How did you first get into real estate?
Began with the City of Virginia Beach reviewing development plans where I got to know all the local developers and engineers. Spent three years at the City and really enjoyed dealing with various types of projects including one where Muhammad Ali was involved and another small project with Larry Miller (star basketball player with UNC back in the day). From there I went into private engineering consultation world and have loved it ever since.

What was your first CRE transaction?

Not really a transaction since I do entitlements and design. Nevertheless, most of my early years were spent on smaller residential and commercial projects, but the first really significant project I remember working on was the River Walk Planned Unit Development in Chesapeake which raised the bar for developments in the area.
What was your most memorable CRE transaction?
There have been many over the years. Greenbrier MarketCenter, Chesapeake City Park, Simon Premium Outlets, IKEA, Summit Pointe (Dollar Tree Town Center in Chesapeake), Portsmouth Rivers Casino, Atlantic Park (surf lagoon mixed use project on the old Dome site at the VB oceanfront), and hoping to be the winning team picked to redevelop Military Circle Mall.
What's your favorite part of working in CRE?
Seems to constantly be a new challenge to solve. Solving those issues that require lots of expertise and thinking outside the box. Many interesting people on the various projects. Building relationships. Many, many different types of projects to do (residential, multi-family, office, retail, hospital, casino, parks, commercial of all types, jail, stormwater solutions, roadway designs, etc).
What's the biggest misconception about CRE?
Particularly during the entitlement processes, I hear from a lot of folks that seem to want to badmouth development. It is necessary to maintain quality of life, low taxes, and to help get infrastructure built. People want the convenience of facilities where they can shop, work, play, but also do not understand the process and how things must be integrated into the community.
Quality development and proper planning is necessary, but nowadays developers want to "do it right" to be a good neighbor and to have a project that has longevity for which everybody will be proud.
How would you describe the commercial real estate market in northeastern NC and the Outer Banks?
Ready to pop wide open. Already starting to do so with commercial retailers looking in Currituck County. Housing developments are being done as quickly as they can be built. Currituck County has the Currituck Station land that can potentially attract a big user which is unique because there are not that many big tracts of land available in the overall market area.
Would love to see Currituck County bring in someone like Raleigh did recently with Apple for a billion dollar development. Projects such as those bring high paying jobs, needed infrastructure, and keep taxes for everyone low.

Can you share one great piece of advice for someone looking to buy/lease commercial property or land?

Get the right real estate and engineering consultant to help you do the proper due diligence. There are lots of things to consider when looking at potential projects. Very important to identify issues up front and to have the right professionals help to solve those issues rather than walking away from a project prematurely or not considering all the impacts in developing a project.
Economic Development professionals like Larry Lombardi are also very important to involve early for many important things to know about a proposed project.
What is your favorite thing about the Outer Banks?
Watching a sunset over the ocean while smoking a cigar and sipping a good bourbon. Going to one of my favorite restaurants (Blue Moon, Salt Box Cafe, Basnights, Tortuga's Lie). Enjoying time with kids and grandkids by the pool or on the oceanfront.
What's your favorite way to spend your free time?
At our Outer Banks beach house in Nags Head, visiting the grandkids in Raleigh, playing golf, or working out (I am a certified gym rat who has been lifting for 40 years).


(757) 213-8610

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Topics:Commercial Real EstateEconomic DevelopmentCurrituck CountyOuter Banks