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Veteran broker weathers changes in real estate market

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Even when the local retail market vacancy hit 8 percent during the depths of the recession, San Diego fared much better than other parts of the country, where vacancies reached well into the double digits.

In the third quarter of 2011, the county’s retail market posted 554,294 square feet of net absorption, its best performance since 2007, according to a CoStar Group (Nasdaq: CSGP) report. The county’s direct vacancy ended the third quarter at 5.2 percent.

Steve Avoyer, president and co-founder of Flocke and Avoyer, has noticed the improvement at his retail brokerage firm.

“It’s been better than the last couple of years, up in terms of consideration, which means the dollar amount of leases and sales is up pretty significantly from the year before,” Avoyer said. “It’s an improving environment. We’ll probably make some 150-plus deals in 2011.”

The deals are largely on the lease side for now, but Avoyer said the sales end is picking up as well.

“This is a time when a broker needs to be pretty opportunistic and look for the parts of the business that are aggressively moving in the right direction. Whether that be a sales or a lease, that’s what we try to capitalize on,” he said.

Avoyer has been in the business for nearly 40 years. He got his start with Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services -- now CB Richard Ellis (NYSE: CBG) -- before striking out with his partner to form Flocke and Avoyer. The company’s services include investment sales, retail leasing, shopping center development consulting, and landlord and tenant representation.

Since its founding in 1985, the company has completed more than $3.5 billion in total lease and sales consideration, and is the exclusive marketing agent for more than 100 retail projects totaling 14 million square feet of space throughout San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties.

In 2011, Flocke and Avoyer had an estimated sales and lease volume of $160 million. The company co-brokered the sale of Bressi Ranch Village Center for $58 million, and helped secure Stater Bros. and Trader Joe’s as the anchor tenants in the 111,400-square-foot Carlsbad retail center. The firm was also involved in a lease with Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) for 39,000 square feet in Carmel Mountain for a Nordstrom Rack store.

Avoyer called the local retail environment a “tale of two cities,” where mom and pop operations are still having a difficult time entering the market or surviving, but many specialty retailers such as Trader Joe’s and Sprouts are aggressively expanding. Drug stores are also doing well, along with off-price retailers.

While mid-range retailers and areas including sporting goods, books and electronics are not faring as well, Avoyer said the future of San Diego’s retail market looks bright.

“We have the reverse situation from a lot of areas,” he said. “There are a lot of tenants that have not been able to get in San Diego over the last eight or 10 years, but now with some of the boxes and retailers going out of business, they’ve been able to come in and make deals. So it’s actually looking really optimistic for the next three to five years and beyond.”

Klam is a San Diego-based freelance writer.

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Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate

Company Website

6165 Greenwich Dr. Ste., 110
San Diego, CA 92122

Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate Executive(s):

Steve Avoyer

  • President

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