Five Questions With: Christina Rouse

Christina Rouse is the director of marketing and operations for Providence-based Sweeney Real Estate & Appraisal, a position she’s held for five years. A graduate of the University of Maine, Rouse handles the advertising and promotion of all listings for the commercial real estate firm, as well as the company itself. She spoke to the Providence Business News about some recent trends and transactions.

PBN: What is the recent trend in sales activity in Rhode Island?

ROUSE: They are definitely picking up. There is a lot more positive consumer [sentiment] out there. We’ve recovered from 2008. When I started … we were dealing with a lot of receiverships. Now people have gone from ‘We just need to recover,’ to ‘I think we need to start making moves. We’ve been here, and survived, and are thriving a bit more.’ They’re making smarter choices. They might be operating out of a building where they’re only using 80 percent of the capacity and want to be more efficient. … They’re not afraid of the investment anymore.

PBN: A recent transaction handled by Sweeney involved the sale for $925,000 of an industrial property at 1110 Central Ave. in Pawtucket to Churchill & Banks. Can you tell me about this property?

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ROUSE: This was a receivership. We represented the receiver. Because of the type of property, industrial property in Rhode Island is still a scarce commodity, so it got a lot of attention, a lot of showings. Churchill & Banks was not the only company that put an offer in on the property.

PBN: In August, a property sold at 359 Putnam Pike in Smithfield for $450,000, previously the McLaughlin Automotive Store. What kind of interest did this site attract?

ROUSE: McLaughlin vacated the property and was leasing it out. There were a lot of updates that needed to happen on the property. We had [interest] from everything from general retail to day care groups. The location was one that brought a lot of interest.

PBN: In September, Sweeney Real Estate brokered the sale of 25 Slater Road in Cranston, which is in the Howard Industrial Park, for $1.8 million. This was a 25,548-square-foot industrial building.

ROUSE: Alves Properties LLC was the owner-user. They decided to vacate because they didn’t need to be in as high-profile a space. This property went under contract very quickly.

PBN: Can you forecast what you expect for the coming year? Do you anticipate it will be as busy?

ROUSE: There was a lot of optimism this year. It was a very positive direction. In the coming year, I think the market is still going to be pretty healthy, but I think people may start having that skeptical optimism … “Well, OK, it’s doing well, but when is it going to crash?” It’s one of those things.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.