New York, NY The New York Real Estate Journal (NYREJ) recently sat down with Christopher Rotio, executive vice president at Town Title Agency, for a question and answer session.
NYREJ: Can you tell us a little bit about Town Title Agency?
Rotio: We are a full-service title insurance agency with more than 100 years of combined experience in residential and commercial title services. Since 2001, we have processed in excess of 20,000 title searches—and we’re still growing. In addition to some 200 monthly residential purchase and refinance closings, Town Title Agency insures many notable commercial transactions across a wide array of industries, with particular expertise in healthcare, retail net-lease, logistics company and car dealership properties. Town Title has also had the privilege of insuring some of the largest transactions in New York and New Jersey, which speaks loudly to the trust and confidence that our clients have in our agency.
Our company has a hands-on, personable approach with our clients that has allowed us to be successful in such a competitive market.
Over the last 19 years, we have developed and perfected a comprehensive service delivery model that allows us to provide an array of services that cover the full spectrum of our clients’ needs. In addition, our Settlement Division gives our clients the opportunity to use our experienced staff of attorneys and paralegals to assist with any step of the closing process – or even to handle the transaction completely from inception to closing.
NYREJ: Town Title launched a community relations initiative. Tell us more about that.
Rotio: In 2015, we launched the #TownTitleGivesBack initiative. We are committed to giving back to the local community. The Agency’s goal is to continuously build up the character of our team while also building up the community it serves. We strive to make what’s important to them, important to us. From sponsoring seminars for young lawyers, to helping fund scholarships for law school students, to holding a seat on the Bergen County Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors, Town Title continues to invest and make a difference in the local legal community. We are also dedicated to working alongside the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation in its cardiac research efforts, while also providing financial support to the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the Diabetes Research Institute, among others.
In 2016, we hosted our first major fundraising event, our inaugural golf outing. In its first four years, we raised over $300,000. The outing continues to be a highly anticipated annual event and in October, we hosted the golf outing at The Ridgewood Country Club and raised over $125,000 for three programs of Hackensack Meridian Health.
NYREJ: What have some of your most notable transactions been this year?
Rotio: Town Title is a leading provider of title insurance and settlement services in the markets we serve. In addition to some 200 monthly residential purchase and refinance closings, Town Title insures many notable commercial transactions. This year, our most notable deals involved commercial spaces, especially for retail net lease spaces and logistics company transactions.
In the third quarter, alone, we’ve insured over $197 million in deals throughout the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic.
NYREJ: What industry and types of assets have you been seeing the most activity in?
Rotio: Locally and nationally, we are seeing net-lease deals trending upward for certain property types, including gas and convenience stores, logistics companies, and tractor supply stores. We are also seeing heavy activity in multifamily apartment developments, locally and nationally, with many warehouse and industrial properties being developed into residential offerings.
NYREJ: How does New York City commercial current deal flow compare to other regional markets?
Rotio: Unfortunately, commercial volume in New York City remains low. However, in other regional markets, such as Bergen and Essex Counties in New Jersey, and across the East Coast Mid-Atlantic, we are seeing strong deal flow that is being driven by favorable commercial lending, interest rates and distressed opportunities. These factors will continue to be a driving force in 2021.
NYREJ: What do you expect to see in the commercial market for 2021 nationally?
Rotio: Retail net lease spaces, industrial assets, and logistics company transactions will continue to stay strong into 2021. We will likely see a lot of refinancing or restructuring of loans in the hospitality industry next year, but I’m confident hospitality will make a comeback in New York City. I expect healthcare to experience success into the new year as well.