Neighborhood Retail Group – DC’s Commercial Real Estate Company

The Business Matchmaker

NRG – Going above and beyond for their commercial real estate clients

Neighborhood Retail Group (NRG) is a commercial real estate company based in Washington, DC. Bethany Kazaba co-founded the company, becoming CEO in 2015. NRG represents the entire commercial real estate spectrum, from tenants and purchasers, to sellers. NRG goes beyond traditional commercial real estate services by also offering marketing and branding expertise, allowing the company to fully serve the unique demands of the sector and covering the entire Washington DC Metropolitan area.

Business openings have averaged around sixty each year, coming from diverse sectors of the economy, such as:

What has been Neighborhood Retail Group’s path to success?

We pride ourselves on offering a better way of conducting business for commercial retail. You will find a lot of larger companies that just fit businesses into a box. That is not how we work.

If the stage is set for a new business to succeed, they will have a greater chance of thriving. That should always be the goal, not just filling a box.

  • Commercial Real Estate Client Sushi Gyaku
    A designer was sourced by NRG to develop the logo for Sushi Gyaku.

The commercial real estate business

Commercial real estate can be volatile. Big box stores might squeeze out smaller businesses in an area. Retail shopping malls sometimes lose out to online stores. You need a strong disposition and the ability to pivot in order to succeed in this business.

Neighborhood Retail Group’s distinct advantage is that the company has the ability to enact quick changes to its strategy and approach when needed. But the pandemic has really put this to the test.

No one could have predicted this one. The year 2020 has proven to be beyond challenging for both landlords and tenants.

Since Neighborhood Retail Group works with all of the parties, Ms. Kazaba can see and understand the problems from different angles. With landlords continuing to request rent, and tenants not being able to remain open, a great divide has opened up between the two sides.

NRG is helping companies navigate the pandemic landscape

Business owners have many tools at their disposal, but may not even realize it. It’s our job to ensure that they are aware of all of them before and after the keys are in their hands.

On the landlord’s side, it’s worth considering all of the potential costs of removing an existing tenant, and then acquiring a new one. A potential exists for an extended permitting process or additional construction. Therefore, running a cost analysis is important before making any decisions.

About the worst thing that a tenant can do is stop paying rent without speaking to the landlord. If the lines of communication are down, any negotiating power is effectively gone. Hiring an experienced commercial broker can solve this and many other problems. Don’t try to go it alone.

When it comes to commercial real estate, it all comes down to communication

In the beginning weeks of the pandemic, Neighborhood Retail Group reached out to all of their tenants in order to help. As a direct result, there are already success stories. Buffalo & Bergen, a bistro and bar, had just opened on Capitol Hill, before turning around and closing just a month later.

Even if the landlord had to forgo six months of rent, the relationship could still be a win-win. They saw the long-term benefit of keeping a successful tenant versus a vacancy that would need to be filled.

Another brand new restaurant, Bing & Bao, was set to open its doors in March of 2020. First-time entrepreneurs, the owners had put in the hard work. They built-out the interior, including the kitchen, and had set their opening date. They were literally ready to open their doors when the state of Virginia decided to close all restaurants. The restaurant was not even in a position to offer take-out, being an entirely new business.

NRG was able to negotiate rent forgiveness on their behalf for the months they were closed.

Commercial Real Estate Location - Bing and Bao
Owners of Bing & Bao Restaurant in Virginia

The business landscape after Covid-19

Some are predicting the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. This has made negotiations fierce, as building owners try to keep their tenants. Fearing that rising vacancies and falling revenues could start to threaten them as well, owners need to take a pragmatic view.

New businesses can be a great opportunity. But often, some landlords are not as open to bringing in an unproven concept.

We bring a lot of experience to the table, since many of our clients are first-time entrepreneurs. This means that our strong relationships can benefit both tenants and landlords looking to take advantage of market openings.

There will be opportunities

Ms. Kazaba predicts that there are going to be many opportunities coming from second-generation restaurant spaces. While she expects that landlords will initially try to maintain the rental rates that existed prior to the crisis, they will eventually be forced to bring them down.

The market shift is coming. Those landlords unwilling to be flexible will find that vacancies will cost them more in the long run than working with existing tenants.

  • Sugar Vault Desserts owner

It’s not just the loss of rental income that will prove challenging. In addition, fierce competition for vacancies will impact profitability. Landlords are likely to find themselves having to really negotiate, as larger real estate companies buy and take over buildings at bargain prices, offering spaces at reduced costs.

To any entrepreneur looking to start up a brick-and-mortar business in this environment, my advice is to get a damn good commercial real estate broker!

You need someone who listens, has follow through, and who’s going to fight for you beyond the initial deal.


Instagram: @neighborhood_retail_group
Facebook: NeighborhoodRetailGroup
LinkedIn: bethanykazaba

Neighborhood Retail Group is active in Maryland, Virginia, and the greater Washington DC metropolitan area


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