08 May

The human element: Meet the people who make the retail real estate industry run

“Christopher Ressa, CLS, oversees a team of nearly 20 as senior vice president of leasing for DLC Management Corp., which owns and manages about 20 million square feet of open-air retail, primarily in the eastern U.S. Ressa maintains strong relationships with national retailers, acts as a mentor for leasing professionals in five regional offices, and makes strategic decisions geared toward ramping up the productivity of DLC assets. “Our goal is to unlock value throughout our portfolio by bringing in the best tenant mixes possible,” he said.

Because DLC continues to grow through strategic acquisitions, the 34-year-old has no shortage of assets to reposition. Late last year DLC acquired the 800,000-square-foot Village at Allen (Texas) retail center, whose tenants include such retailers as Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and T.J.Maxx. Now Ressa is looking to hire new team members. “So far this year we’ve done deals with LA Fitness, Party City, HomeGoods, Harbor Freight Tools and a host of other national retailers,” he said. “We have signed many leases with all the local mom-and-pop users you can think of, from nail salons to Mexican restaurants.”

One of Ressa’s goals is to remove obstacles for his leasing team, he says, and this might involve weighing the viability of combining smaller spaces into a large box for a prospective user, or sitting at the negotiating table for some of DLC’s larger transactions. “I’ll do whatever I can do to help facilitate the deal,” he said. Ressa, who became a Certified Leasing Specialist in 2010 and joined ICSC’s CLS Committee in 2012, also brings new ideas to asset-level strategy sessions with his team. “When someone has been looking at the same thing in the same way for a while, it can help to bring in a different perspective,” he said. “It can open up some new possibilities.”

Ressa joined DLC in 2007 after overseeing leasing for some 3.5 million square feet of retail on behalf of New York City–based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. He is a New Jersey native and attended Rutgers University on a wrestling scholarship. His first job in the industry was on the retail side, with the Sherwin-Williams Co. There, as real estate manager for the Eastern division, Ressa opened new stores, renewed leases and handled offices and warehouses. “That’s when I realized I had a passion for real estate.” ”

 

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