Friday, August 14, 2015
Carole Hawkins, Staff Writer
What’s the best place in Northeast Florida to open a new real estate office?
St. Johns? Nocatee? Fleming Island? OakLeaf?
Exit Real Estate Gallery picked the airport. A place 10,000 people walk through every day.
The company expects by the end of August to open a 400-square-foot relocation center in Jacksonville International Airport’s main atrium.
The hope is to snag the business of relocating executives and time-starved military transfers.
Buyers on their first steps into the city. Sellers as they travel out of town to check out their new communities.
“We’re going to be in front of the people that are already relocating from the get-go,” said Sonny Downey, Exit’s vice president of Development and Growth. “We’ll be able to engage from the moment they land and show them, not just one community, but all of the options in Northeast Florida.”
Jay Cunio, director of business development for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, said airport officials are excited to have the company in the terminal.
“We think it’s an opportunity for Exit to provide another amenity to the traveling public,” he said. “A lot of folks come through the airport are people who are relocating.”
Located next to the Latitude 360 lounge, Exit’s newest location will be one of the first storefronts seen by passengers arriving at the airport.
The centerpiece will be a shopping kiosk, with a 60-inch interactive touch screen. There, customers will be able to search home listings and a database of videos covering communities in Northeast Florida. Exit is also forming partnerships with builders and developers who will be featured in the space. It hopes to partner with area chambers of commerce as well.
Downey said he’s never heard of a real estate company opening an office in an airport before.
But it so happens, there’s one in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Jaqua Realtors has had a relocation center at Battle Creek International Airport for about 18 years.
The idea began as a branding opportunity, said president and owner Dan Jaqua, sort of like a kiosk in a mall.
But over time, it became an integral part of serving the company’s relocation and corporate clients.
The center offers relocation and rental services. The airport location makes it easier for out-of-town customers to immediately find the realty and to connect with an agent.
“I think it tells our corporate clients and employees who are relocating that we are committed to their needs,” Jaqua said. “You can just step off the plane, and we’re right there.”
The Battle Creek airport benefited, too. Four years ago, when it was torn down and redesigned, executives did so in a way that better incorporated the realty.
“We’re not exactly a welcome center. But we are for people who are moving into the area,” Jaqua said.
Exit Real Estate Gallery’s airport relocation center will be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The company is in growth mode. It will be the third location opened by Exit this year.
The others are on Fleming Island and in Deerwood, bringing Exit’s total offices up to seven.
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