Real Estate News Manager joins North Charleston property company; Bluffton community gains steam
• Shorter Management expands staff •
A long-time apartment and homeowners association manager most recently in Georgia has joined Doug Shorter Property Management.
Brad Morris is the company’s newest full-time licensed property manager, according to the locally based company.
He handled apartment and HOA management in Myrtle Beach; Lakeland, Fla.; and Georgia before coming to Charleston.
Morris grew up in Michigan, then moved to Greensboro, N.C., where he joined the Navy. He served aboard the USS Tarawa, traveling to Japan, Korea, Thailand, Australia, China and the Philippines.
His pursuit of property management took root with an auditor’s job in the hotel industry in Salisbury, N.C. He was briefly a middle school teacher, then rejoined real estate management.
He oversaw more than 700 homes as homeowners association manager and ran a complex of 432 apartments where he took occupancy to more than 90 percent from 75 percent in just more than a year.
In Georgia, Morris worked with Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties and gained knowledge and insight in HUD, Section 8 and lower-income properties.
He is married to Bridgett Morris. They have one son, Anthony, and two cats. The family lives in Summerville.
During his free time, Morris is an avid golfer and a member of the National Golfweek Amateur Tour, in which he competes bi-weekly in tournaments. He also enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, cookouts, movies and visits to the beach.
Doug Shorter Property Management offers property management, sales and homeowners association services in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. It is headquartered off Dorchester Road in North Charleston at 4754 Franchise St. in Dorchester Industrial Park.For more information, visit http://www.dougshorter.com.
• Palmetto Bluff in growth spurt •
Lower lot prices and semi-custom home choices are driving up construction and sales figures at an established resort near Hilton Head Island.
Palmetto Bluff, located in Bluffton, is being developed by Crescent Resources.
The community is experiencing the most building activity in its history: 63 homes are in the building or design process and 38 residences are pending, according to Palmetto Bluff.
With 210 existing homes, the building pace works out to a 30 percent increase this year over 2011. Total sales numbers at mid-year 2012 were already equal to the previous year as a whole.
Meanwhile, real estate leads and traffic are up more than 50 percent from the same time last year.
According to Palmetto Bluff, the property is “staying in tune with the changing real estate market” by blending in more affordable homes and semi-custom options while sticking with a high level of development and design.
Recent marketing changes include updated pricing and home options, with new homes and homesites being offered from $615,000 and $110,000 respectively. The prices reflect a significant value to prospective homeowners, the resort says. Just five years ago, comparable home prices would have started at more than $1 million, and homesites at more than three times higher than before.
At the same time, more semi-custom home options have been added, “making the turnaround time quicker and less stressful,” according to Palmetto Bluff.
A companion attraction is The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Resort, which is on-site. The inn has drawn attention and prospects from top accolades including the No. 1 hotel in the United States by U.S. News & World Report and the No. 6 resort in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure.
Meanwhile, there are onsite activities for owners and guests such as island expeditions with a famed culinarian, alligator tracking and shrimping.
Palmetto Bluff is a 20,000-acre resort that takes in an extensive nature preserve; walking trails; village center with river access, boat storage and canoe club; restaurants; the AAA Five Diamond Inn at Palmetto Bluff and spa managed by Auberge Resorts; and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff showcases 50 guest cottages and 40 village homes. According to the resort, residential neighborhoods range from multi-million dollar “legacy family compounds” to more traditionally sized, single-family lots.For more information, visit www.palmettobluff.com.
• Riley briefs Charleston Realtors on area business, real estate activities •
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley isn’t backing away from city and regional growth plans, most notably the completion of Interstate 526.
“We’ve got the funding now. There will be lawsuits but we’ll hang in there,” Riley told the Charleston Top Producers at the real estate group’s monthly luncheon Tuesday at the Harbour Club.
In a wide-ranging talk before a capacity crowd of 70 people, the mayor touched on a handful of public and private developments planned, in progress or being talked about in Charleston and surrounding areas.
Arguably the touchiest subject discussed is the proposed completion of I-526 from James Island to Johns Island. While facing opposition from island residents and environmental groups, the project moved a step closer to launch when the State Infrastructure Bank last week approved another $118 million.
Riley contends the roadway, while controversial and out of scale with the island’s population now, is necessary to keep traffic from backing up into town and to avoid disastrous gridlock in future decades.
“I have a duty to make sure we look 25 years from now,” Riley says. Without the I-526 spur, Johns Island traffic in 2037 would be “miserable,” and the Wappoo Cut Bridge would face worse congestion than before the James Island connector opened, he says.
During a question and answer session, an agent asked Riley whether the interstate leg is really any closer to being built after 20 years of debate and holdups, and how is it possible for backers to succeed this time.
“You know, we just have to outlast them,” Charleston’s long-time mayor says.
Riley also gave updates on other hot button issues and new development plans, including:
• Continued support for the cruise ship industry downtown. The mayor says cruise lines are in keeping with the city’s centuries-old history as a port and account for a “small part” of the 2,000 ships that call on Charleston. Cruise ship port of calls are limited to 104 a year and are averaging 80-85. They’re limited by size, too. “You can’t have big stuff,” he says.
• Charleston’s continued high ranking as a “beautiful place to visit.” Among states, South Carolina and North Carolina place first and second in visitors here but California ranks third, he says. “That’s branding recognition. We aren’t a tourist attraction because of a created place, like a casino, even Disneyworld. Coming east, you go to Charleston,” he says.
• High-tech expansion. According to Riley, “High-tech industries want to move where there are interesting places to live.” He cited Blackbaud and PeopleMatter, which chose Charleston over the North Carolina Research Triangle, as examples. Meanwhile, the Medical University of South Carolina generates $200 million in research a year. A new “live work high-tech neighborhood” in the vicinity of Fishburne and Hagood avenues is planned where medical start-ups would be close to professionals’ residences. The requests for proposals have already gone out on the project, he says. Riley also cited the city’s Digital Corridor. And he praised the Boeing plant for its boost to everything from engineering to supply and design.
• A commuter rail is being looked at to carry downtown workers as far out as Jedburg. Riley says commuter transportation is “much less expensive” than light rail because existing infrastructure is in place and the commuter line is only used during peak traffic times. “That’s what we are working on,” he says, noting that a study is ongoing.
• The extension of Glenn McConnell Parkway is in abeyance until plans are worked out for the Long Savannah development, which Riley says is “on hold for awhile.” A traffic circle for Bees Ferry Road should be able to proceed.
• The Midtown corridor in and around King, Meeting, Spring and Woolf streets calls for two hotels including a new 300-room Marriott and 380-space parking garage where the former Bank of America branch on King and Cannon is located.
• Plans for the former Charleston County library property on King Street are still on hold. “Every Wednesday morning I wait to get a call from the legal department,” quipped Riley. That’s the day that state Supreme Court cases are handed down, and two cases are before the court questioning the height of a proposed hotel development on the site. If the high court rules against the suits, developer Michael Bennett can proceed with his plans, which call for a five-story building and another three-and-a-half story upper level, he says.
At the luncheon, Riley had a few complimentary words for the region’s real estate agents. Judy Tatum of Carolina One Real Estate is president of the Charleston Top Producers and organized the event.
“I know this is not the easiest time for real estate sales. It is the good manners and a genteel nature of our citizens that makes this such as good place,” Riley says.
“The real estate industry is important to fuel the economy,” he says. “I feel like we are in a very good position.”