Rise Partners adds brokerage service unit as Chattanooga area grows

Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter / Managing partner Matt Phillips talks about Rise Partners as the company adds a brokerage services division.

A Chattanooga-based real estate investment and development company has started up a brokerage services division to take advantage of heightened interest in the region's market.

"With the changing dynamics in the world, Chattanooga and the region are positioned to launch," said Matt Phillips, managing partner at Rise Partners.

The company that started in 2017 has added a couple of vice presidents, Wilson McGinness and John Tugman, to head the new division, Phillips said.

McGinness said the Chattanooga area is showing up on more companies' radar.

"We've been amazed at how much activity there is out there in all different sectors," he said. "Chattanooga is really starting to get attention on a national basis."

McGinness, who was director of leasing at JDK Real Estate for more than 10 years, said that people living in large metropolitan areas who've been kept inside due to the pandemic are looking for more of an outdoor lifestyle and Chattanooga fills the bill.

Over the past five years, he said, young professionals have been moving to the city, drawn by business growth and the area's outdoors scene.

Tugman, who has a 21-year career in commercial real estate starting at CBL Properties as a district manager of leasing, said the new division is offering landlord and tenant representation. It works in the different sectors of industrial, land, office and retail, he said.

"Primarily, we'll do regional. We'll do stuff in the Southeast," Tugman said. "Every now and then we'll get a national assignment."

McGinness said that with coronavirus infections falling and vaccinations rising, how the future market will shake out moving ahead is "the million-dollar question."

At the moment, he said, they're seeing quite a few office tenants who are looking at expanding. While companies aren't ready to bring all their employee back in house, there's an uptick in business that is warranting office expansions, McGinness said.

He said the same is holding true in the distribution segment as in-time delivery services grow.

Rise Partners, which has grown to nine employees, was formed by four veteran managers with experience at CBL, Hutton Co. and Belk Inc. in Geoff Smith, Jay Wiseman, Phillips and Greg Wilson.

The four started the development firm to focus on the changing retail landscape across the Southeast. They built on their relationships with retailers still expanding in the South while capitalizing on opportunities to buy and redevelop non-mall shopping centers in attractive markets.

Rise Partners has acquired and repositioned more than $100 million in real estate assets across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic since inception, according to the company that also has an office in Charlotte.

Smith said that also moving into the brokerage arena "gives us diversification of services" which it can provide to clients.

Phillips said that company revenues each year have topped the prior one, including in 2020, though he declined to share figures.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.