Front Door taps home building veteran as development director

A specialist at land deals and business growth will head up an Atlanta real estate company's active plans to expand locally.

FrontDoor Communities recently picked Bob Pickard as Director of Development and Acquisition for the company's metro Charleston office.

In his new role, Pickard will focus on three things, FrontDoor says. He will craft business plans, oversee budgets and manage the firm's land acquisition, development and construction pursuits.

"With our introduction of the Freeman's Point community in James Island last month, we are poised to expand our presence in the Charleston market," says Terry Russell, chief executive of FrontDoor Communities.

"Bob will bring invaluable leadership and insight to our team as we ramp up work in the region, and we're thrilled to have him on board," he says.

Pickard has racked up 15 years of experience in project management and land development.

He previously was director of business development and environmental services for Ikhana Design and Construction and a business development consultant with SEG engineering in Atlanta. He's held various project and land development positions at Landmark Construction Co., Ryland Homes, Benchmark Group and URS Corp.

Pickard also serves as president of the Charleston Home Builders Association's government affairs committee.

He earned a bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence University and a master's degree in environmental management from the University of South Carolina,

Launched by home building veterans, FrontDoor Communities stands as a full-service real estate firm familiar with the marketplace while eying the consumer's needs and wants.

FrontDoor executives are a core team of leaders, touting a clear vision of current and future market opportunities, the firm says.

In addition, the company plays an opportunistic, responsive role in the real estate cycle. The company zeroes in on urban and suburban infill; resorts; and club operations from management, development, transaction and new building perspectives.

Bacon marks two decades heading Charleston bed and breakfast business

When lining up places to stay for a Lowcountry vacation, many visitors reach out to Historic Charleston Bed and Breakfast.

Jo Bacon, who owns Historic Charleston Bed and Breakfast, is celebrating 20 years as manager and broker-in-charge of the reservation service. She expanded the business to include monthly, temporary rentals of fully furnished and equipped properties.

Historic Charleston Bed and Breakfast supplies one, two and three bedroom rentals; condos and apartments; and monthly rentals.

It provides 18th and 19th century homes in the historic district, carriage houses and kitchen homes separate from the main house. Properties sport walled gardens and prime views from piazzas.

Also available are luxury condos and apartments close to the Market area and Waterfront Park.

Visitors can reserve furnished monthly rentals, fully equipped one-bedroom apartments and two-, three- or four-bedroom elegant homes.

Most locations are based within walking distance of dining, shopping, museums and points of interest.

The business runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information, visit www.historiccharlestonbedandbreakfast.com or call 843-722-6606 or toll free 800-743-3583.

Florida-based investor buys out partners in Upstate resort villages

A December deal has given Arendale Holdings full control of The Cliffs Communities, located in and near highlands areas of the Carolinas.

The Jacksonville, Fla., company says it closed a transaction to buy shareholder interests of SunTx Urbana and The Carlile Group, headed by Steve and Penny Carlile.

Arendale Holdings says it now will be sole owner and manager of The Cliffs Communities. The company and its affiliates also will control and manage all real estate development and sales actions and club operations for The Cliffs Communities, which consist of Mountain Park, Valley, Glassy, Keowee Springs, Keowee Falls, Keowee Vineyards, Walnut Cove and High Carolina resorts and neighborhoods.

"Arendale Holdings continues to be excited about its investment in The Cliffs Communities and our increased financial commitment, we believe, demonstrates our confidence in the long-term strength of these fine communities throughout the Carolinas," Arendale Vice President Robert Wright says.

"With 70 new homes under construction and the recent completion of the Gary Player Championship Golf Course at Mountain Park, we believe The Cliffs is poised for a vibrant future for its residents, club members and employees."

Arendale Holdings bills itself as a diversified development company that invests in real estate and hospitality properties nationwide.

In its 40-year history, Arendale has developed residential, commercial, resort and golf course projects while providing investment and management support to more than 35 real estate partnerships and clubs in six states.

Local real estate staff raises money for charities

This holiday season has proven to be a gift-giving time for brokers and agents at Re/Max Pro Realty.

The metro Charleston agency donated $2,500 to Children's Miracle Network and $2,000 to The Wounded Warriors Project, says Felicia Overlock, Internet marketing coordinator with Re/Max Pro Realty.

To raise the funds, Re/Max Pro Realty agents set aside a portion of each commission toward The Wounded Warriors Project, the Children's Miracle Network and other charities, she says.

For more information, e-mail Felicia@prattandco.com or call 843-576-3035.

Foreclosure rates keep dropping in Charleston area, state, U.S.

Less than 1 in every 40 mortgage loans are in foreclosure across the Lowcountry, which while not insignificant continues a steady decline.

Foreclosure rates in greater Charleston-North Charleston decreased in October from the same period a year ago, according to new figures from national real estate tracker CoreLogic.

The share of foreclosures in the Charleston-North Charleston area sank to 2.46 percent of outstanding mortgage loans, down 1.01 percentage points from 3.47 percent last year at this time.

Still, foreclosure shares locally remained higher than the 2.15 percent national foreclosure rate for October.

According to CoreLogic, the foreclosure rate "measures the percentage of loans in some stage of the foreclosure process." The analytic company lists a foreclosure as any mortgage in which owners lose their legal right to a property, usually due to default. Rather than new foreclosure filings, the rate refers to the current stock, or inventory, of loans in the foreclosure process. This offers "a comprehensive view of foreclosure trends," notes CoreLogic, which claims to hold 85 percent coverage of foreclosure numbers.

Meanwhile, a figure that tracks loans headed toward serious trouble also declined in Charleston-North Charleston.

CoreLogic says the mortgage delinquency rate of loans 90 days or more past due decreased to 4.98 percent of home loans, 6.33 percent for the same period last year - a 1.35 percentage point drop.

According to CoreLogic, the 90-plus day delinquency rate measures the percentage of loans that are more than three months delinquent, "including those in foreclosure and real estate owned (by the lender)."

By comparison, South Carolina as whole in October reported a 2.16 percent foreclosure rate, slightly lower than Charleston-North Charleston's. The share fell 0.99 percentage points from 3.15 percent a year earlier. Also, the state's 90-plus day delinquency rate in October stood at 4.89 percent, down 1.11 percentage points from 6 percent a year ago. Both figures were a little improved on Charleston-North Charleston.

Meanwhile, the nation's foreclosure rate in October hit 2.15 percent, down 0.91 percentage points from 3.06 percent a year earlier. The 90-day or more delinquency share dipped to 5.11 percent in October, off 1.41 percentage points compared with 6.52 percent the previous year.

NAI Avant trumpets top sales brokers statewide in third quarter

A Charleston-based agent joined four Midlands area brokers as leading commercial real estate "producers" for NAI Avant statewide, the company says.

Thomas Boulware, a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) who works from the agency's King Street office, made the list for the third quarter. Senior Broker Ben Kelly, CCIM; Nick Stomski, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR); Paul Hartley, SIOR; and Tom Milliken, were chosen from Columbia. Kelly also landed as top producer in the July through September period.

Bruce Harper, president and broker-in-charge of NAI Avant, says 2013 has been a "strong year for our firm as commercial real estate activity has increased significantly in virtually all sectors."

He says the brokerage is very pleased to recognize its top quarterly producers who led the company in brokerage sales while providing "unmatched commercial real estate representation to our clients."

NAI Avant houses one of the largest commercial real estate businesses in the Southeast, the brokerage says.

The agency counts 65 professionals that provide comprehensive brokerage, leasing, development, property and project management services. As a member of the NAI Global Network, the Columbia-based agency stands affiliated with more than 350 offices in 55 countries worldwide.

NAI Global, consider the largest independent commercial real estate service provider worldwide, is a subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners.

Meanwhile, NAI Avant's Property and Project Management Group manages a multi-million square foot portfolio of properties across South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Its Avant Healthcare Division provides broad services to hospitals, clinics and physician groups.

Founded in 1966, NAI Avant calls Columbia its headquarters city and has a satellite office in Charleston.

For more information, visit the company website at www.naiavant.com.

Sustainable Charleston area businesses join together on party

One group's established at assisting people with energy saving techniques while the other is rather new as a produce-selling center.

But they came together "in the spirit of community" to throw an oyster roast Jan. 16 on Johns Island.

The Sustainability Institute and the Johns Island HomeGrown Farmers Market say they're kicking off the New Year with the all-ages event. The 6-9:30 p.m. shindig at Island Oak Shopping Center, 2817 Maybank Highway, will be open to the public and will feature oysters, chili, beer, wine and live bluegrass music.

Admission is $25 per person or free to Sustainability Institute members, one per household. Proceeds will benefit The Sustainability Institute and the Johns Island Farmers Market.

According to organizers, the oyster roast serves as a fundraiser to support the programs and initiatives of The Sustainability Institute and the start-up capital for the Johns Island Farmers Market.

The Sustainability Institute describes itself as an award-winning, nonprofit organization with a mission of "empowering South Carolinians to conserve energy and reduce our environmental impact where we live and work."

At the same time, the Johns Island HomeGrown Farmers Market says it's "committed to improving our local food system through sustainability initiatives, which work to support local farmers and small businesses, reduce waste output, and teach local citizens the benefits of a sustainable life."

For more information, contact Laura at 843-637-9382.