Continental Realty Corp. Enters Richmond, Virginia Retail Market with Acquisition of Gayton Crossing

(Photo credit: Continental Realty Corporation)

Continental Realty Corporation, a Baltimore-based real estate investment and management company active in 11 states with more than $3.7 billion Assets Under Management (AUM), has acquired a new asset in the Virginia retail real estate market with its acquisition of Gayton Crossing, a 160,830 square foot neighborhood shopping center located at 9782 Gayton Road in Richmond. The asset features a variety of restaurants, service-oriented and specialty retailers. Jordan Lex, Dean Sands and Danny Naughton of JLL’s Washington, D.C. regional office represented the seller in this sales transaction. CRC has now acquired nearly $600 million worth of retail real estate since the beginning of 2021.

Gayton Crossing was purchased with funds from Continental Realty Opportunistic Retail Fund I, LP (CRORF), a closed-end fund for which $296 million has been raised. Since the inception of CRORF, CRC has acquired 12 retail properties comprised of approximately 2.7 million square feet of space. Since 2012, CRC has raised nearly $1 billion in equity for retail and multifamily investments across five real estate funds and multiple associated co-investments.

CRC purchased two properties last year on behalf of CRORF totaling nearly $190 million and approximately 750,000 square feet of space. This activity included the $78 million acquisition of Lakeside Village, a nearly 460,000 square foot super-regional lifestyle center located just east of Tampa, Florida, and the $110 million purchase of South Coast Collection (SoCo) a 292,000 square foot luxury home furnishing and design lifestyle center in Costa Mesa, California.

CRC owns and manages a diversified portfolio of more than 9,000 apartment homes, as well as retail centers and other commercial properties consisting of almost eight million square feet, serving the real estate needs of more than 1,100 tenants across 11 states. CRORF was formed as a vehicle to target and acquire a diversified portfolio of opportunistic, and value-add retail properties throughout the United States.

Authentic neighborhood center positioned in Richmond’s West End submarket

Delivered in 1981 and situated at the signalized intersection of Gaskins and Quioccasin roads in Henrico County on a 15.6-acre site, Gayton Crossing is shadow-anchored by national supermarket chain Kroger and features more than 30 restaurants and retailers occupying inline spaces and five free-standing pad sites. Representative tenants include Bank of America, GOLD’S Gym, Goldfish Swim School, Jos. A. Bank, KidStrong, Starbucks Coffee, Virginia ABC store and The UPS Store. The property contains eight means of ingress and egress and is surrounded by a free surface parking lot suitable for nearly 700 vehicles.

According to, a market research company that reports on consumer behavior by analyzing visitations in retail stores and shopping centers, Kroger ranks in the 82nd percentile among all grocery stores operating in Virginia and is third in market share within a three-mile radius for number of visits.

“Gayton Crossing is an irreplaceable asset with multiple paths to add value, considering the existing vacancies and the center’s positioning within West End, which is generally recognized as the premier, upscale and high net worth trade area in the greater Richmond area,” said Josh Dinstein, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions for Continental Realty Corporation. “The asset currently functions as a true neighborhood shopping venue, with its successful grocery anchor and complementary blend of national and locally owned retailers and restaurants. We believe our team’s creative leasing and asset management approaches make CRC well-equipped to unlock the potential at Gayton Crossing. The center’s strategic location, unique design and projected submarket residential growth make Gayton Crossing the ideal acquisition to grow our footprint in the Virginia marketplace.”

More than 100,000 people reside within a five-mile radius of Gayton Crossing, including more than 75,000 households with an average household income exceeding $135,000. A figure which tracks area employees, estimates the daytime population within this same radius at nearly 235,000.

Multiple paths to add value and deliver strong risk-adjusted yields

“Our team is pursuing multiple paths to add value and deliver strong risk-adjusted yields to our investors. There is nearly 45,000 square feet of existing vacancy at Gayton Crossing which presents an opportunity for our leasing team. We intend to pursue new-to-market concepts, including F&B, educational, and healthcare users, as well as more traditional service-related and retail uses. We also believe we can achieve improved cost efficiencies by implementing our proven asset management protocols,” he added.

Further demonstrating the existing tenant base’s commitment to the property, Starbucks Coffee recently relocated from an inline space to a new building that the company constructed on an outparcel,” Dinstein said. “By making this long-term investment, Starbucks Coffee signaled confidence in the asset and provided our team with a viable leasing opportunity.”

More than 1,500 new homes to be added within five-mile radius

The median home value in Richmond’s West End is $520,000 and the existing residential pipeline is expected to add more than 1,500 homes within a five-mile radius of Gayton Crossing. Household incomes are projected to increase by more than 11 percent within a three-mile radius over the next five years.

The University of Richmond, with approximately 4,000 students, is situated in West End and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), with its additional 30,000 undergraduates, is located approximately 10 miles from Gayton Crossing. Richmond’s central business district is 14 miles from the site and Richmond International Airport is 22 miles away.

Growing population attracts jobs and fuels economic growth

According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the population within the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is nearly 1.3 million, a figure that has grown by 11 percent over the past decade. The region is home to eight Fortune 500 headquarters and features the third highest concentration of business and finance workers east of the Mississippi River. Representative companies in the area include Allianz, Brink’s, Capital One, CarMax, CoStar Group, Dominion Energy, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, GE, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and QTS. Richmond offers an extensive variety of arts and cultural activities such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Science Museum of Virginia and numerous theater, comedy, and concert opportunities.

Richmond Economic Development reports a regional labor force exceeding 728,000 workers, consisting of primarily service industries including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare, information technology, financial services, and transportation and logistics. The region has access to a pipeline of more than 1.6 million higher education students, served by 22 higher education institutions within a 150-mile radius. The group projects the population in Richmond to expand by an additional 19.3 percent by 2050.

U.S. News & World Report recently included Richmond in the top 50 of its “Best Places to Live” listing.

Summary of CRORF acquisition activity

Prior to its 2023 entry into southern California, CRC entered the suburban trade areas of Chicago, Illinois and Troy, Michigan in 2021. Key acquisitions included Banks Crossing, a 255,101 square foot regional shopping center in Fayetteville, Georgia; Lakeside Village in Lakeland, Florida; The Shoppes at Webb Gin, a 330,000 square foot lifestyle center in Greater Atlanta; a portfolio of five shopping centers comprising more than 900,000 square feet of space in Cicero, Mount Prospect, Naperville, and Palatine, Illinois; and Oakland Plaza and Oakland Square, shopping centers located in Troy, Michigan consisting of nearly 392,000 square feet of space.

CRORF targets neighborhood, grocery-anchored, lifestyle and power centers situated within the U.S.’s top 50 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), as well as select secondary markets.

“Our team was initially attracted to Gayton Crossing due to the presence of the dominant grocery store in the greater Richmond area, and our interest grew after closely studying the balance of the tenant mix and examining the underlying regional fundamentals of this extremely healthy and diverse submarket,” said CRC’s CEO, JM Schapiro. “We know that we have added an asset that will thrive, given its placement in a mature market with an exceedingly high barrier to entry, combined with the opportunity to add significant value as fueled by CRC’s tactical leasing strategies.

“This acquisition is another example of the advantages provided by CRC’s vertically integrated platform, which leverages our industry relationships to identify opportunities and utilizes our cutting-edge technology and advanced data sources to execute a thorough analysis to bring the purchase to a successful conclusion. Our group’s ready capital and strong track record of certainty to close continue to position CRC as a preferred and proven counterparty to sellers of retail real estate.”

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland and founded in 1960, Continental Realty Corporation is a full-service commercial real estate and investment company focused on acquiring and operating retail and multifamily properties. The privately held firm owns and manages a diversified portfolio of retail centers consisting of almost eight million square feet of commercial space and over 9,000 apartment homes across 11 states, with a portfolio value exceeding $3.7 billion. For additional information, visit