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April 28, 2013

70 Years with Atkinson Realty -new North End office open for business


By Gregory Wright

It’s A Shore Thing Correspondent

For 70 years, Atkinson Realty has been a landmark at the North End of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Although its founding in 1943 predates the original 1952 incorporation of Virginia Beach as an independent city by 9 years, it has grown just as the city it serves has grown.

During the 1940s, when buyers began driving to the resort area on Virginia Beach Boulevard to look for beach properties, Frank Atkinson saw a business opportunity. In 1943 he opened his sales office in a building situated on 54th Street and Atlantic Avenue.  Page Miyares, one of the present partners, says that the 1920’s building was so small that it did not have its own bathroom – the staff had to “borrow” the bathroom in Mr. Lowell’s house next door.

Frank originally thought that his realty company would be a short-term venture; as soon as properties were sold – at $1,000 for an oceanfront lot and $500 for a landside lot – he would fold up his tent. It was not to be so. Buyers who had built homes on the lots wanted to rent them. Thus began Atkinson’s Realty’s core business of managing vacation rentals. Today, the company manages 175 rental properties located in Croatan, the neighborhood just south of Rudee Inlet, the resort strip, and the North End.

Not surprisingly, the business of listing and selling homes has also persisted through the years. In 1989, to improve its ability to serve both buyers and sellers, Atkinson Realty partnered with ERA (Electronic Realty Associates, Inc.), a national real estate corporation with 2,500 franchises and affiliated offices across the world. ERA has provided Atkinson Realty ERA with technology support, broader exposure, marketing assistance and top-level agent training.

In 1972, John Atkinson bought the business from Frank, his father, and successfully ran it until 1984 when Betsy, his wife at the time, bought it from him. In 1977, John was elected City Treasurer of Virginia Beach; as a result, he found that he had a difficulty in devoting sufficient time to managing the company. At his urging, Betsy, who had become an agent and a broker, became increasingly drawn into management of the business. By the mid-1980s, it made perfect sense for her to buy Atkinson Realty. Since then, she remained the managing partner, although she now shares those duties with the next generation of Atkinsons, daughter Page and sons John and Clay.

A year ago, Betsy decided that it was past time to replace the cottage-like 54th Street office. Work began in August 2012 and was completed at the end of March, allowing the staff to move in during the first week of April. A building constructed in a classic beach style has emerged on the very spot where its weather-beaten predecessor once stood.  During the planning stages, the Atkinsons took pains to work closely with the North Virginia Beach Civic League to ensure the structure met certain design guidelines. The fact that the driveway and expanded parking area are made of brick pavers is one indication of that cooperative effort.

“We wanted to make the North End proud,” Page says. By all appearances, they certainly have. The civic league has shown its appreciation for the Atkinsons’ attention to design detail by presenting them with a plaque that is proudly displayed in the new reception area.

The building will be dedicated on Saturday, April 27. Virginia Beach Councilman Jim Wood will perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Page says they will host an Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The street address is 5307 Atlantic Avenue.

Today, Atkinson Realty ERA can boast that it is home to 30 active real estate agents. It has been consistently rated as one of the top 20 real estate companies – out of 300 – in all of Hampton Roads, including Newport News. As Page likes to say, “We are small but formidable.”  As time has proved, Atkinson Realty ERA is also resilient. For more information about Atkinson Realty ERA, please go to








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It's a Shore Thing
If you happen to live near the shore, you already know many of the amazing businesses, shops, services and restaurants around. But, you don't know them all! This is where you learn about the unique places you haven't tried as well as special messages and deals from those you love! Your community resource to find the local things important to you, online, mobile, and your iPad.



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