Industries

GVA Advantis is closing six offices

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

 

A year after GVA Advantis came under new leadership, the commercial real estate firm announced today that it is closing six offices. The offices, including two in Virginia, are located in Newport News; Northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Gulfport, Miss.; and Tallahassee and Panama City, Fla.

The move affects 28 of the firm’s brokers, with the majority of them moving to other real estate firms, according to a company spokesman. 

Citing the economy, Advantis Chairman Jeffrey Neal said in a statement that the company is reducing the scale of its real estate brokerage operations so it can concentrate on more profitable business lines. “One year ago, the leadership team believed we could successfully restructure the firm with a capital infusion,” said Neal. “The economy has been unkind to our broker and transactional business. Our property management and construction service lines have been and will continue to be profitable, but the challenges brought on throughout our industry and that have negatively impacted our other businesses have led us to determine that we must close them effectively immediately.”

The company said that Advantis Construction accounts for more than 75 percent of the company’s revenue and has consistently been the most profitable unit. Advantis Construction will maintain offices in Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Norfolk, and Tampa.

While the Norfolk office remains open, it’s in the process of closing its brokerage operation.  “People are moving out over the course of the week,” said Deborah K. Stearns, the office’s executive director and a broker. After 34 years with the company, Stearns says she soon will join Norfolk-based Harvey Lindsey Commercial Real Estate.

Disassembling of a longstanding real estate brokerage that was doing reasonably well even in a down economy has been “surreal and an emotional roller coaster,” said Stearns. “You can go through a whole lot of conversation, but it really is the economy,” she added.  Advantis, however, is not closing brokerage operations in the Richmond market.

In the last two weeks, several of the Norfolk office’s top industrial brokers resigned to join other firms. Ken Bennassi joined CB Richard Ellis.  Meanwhile, William C. Throne and Clay Culbreath joined the Norfolk staff of Thalhimer/Cushman & Wakefield Another broker, Stephanie Sanker, is now with S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. in Norfolk.

GVA Advantis also announced that it will end its affiliation with the GVA Worldwide network during the third quarter. Neal’s company, private equity group Monument Ventures, acquired a controlling stake in GVA Advantis last year and planned to expand the company’s footprint in the Southeast, where it had 16 offices. It moved the headquarters from Atlanta to Washington. In 2008, the company managed more than 14 million square feet of commercial facilities and reported an annual transactional volume of about $1 billion. 

 


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