Developer gives boost to CofC real estate program

Ben Carter

The developer behind the Carter Real Estate Center at College of Charleston is investing more money into the program.

Ben Carter and wife Tricia are donating $250,000 to fund scholarships for undergraduates who focus on real estate either as a minor or a concentration.

In January, $2,000 will be awarded to up to 10 qualifying sophomores, juniors and seniors based on their academic records and a demonstrated interest in the industry. The scholarships are renewable through graduation.

Carter, CEO of Atlanta-based shopping center developer Ben Carter Enterprises, said the idea is to better prepare students for their first jobs in an industry that become increasingly sophisticated.

“The goal is get ... them ready to be able to produce something for that company the day they show up,” he said Thursday.

He added that few in-depth real estate study programs are offered at the undergraduate level.

Carter said the real estate business has moved on from the era when newcomers could learn the tricks of the trade on the job.

“There’s been a tremendous amount of consolidation in the industry in the last 10 years,” he said. “That has created some very large companies, and they’re looking for well-trained people.”

Carter and his family established the Carter Real Estate Center in 2006 with a gift. The University of Georgia graduate said he did so after finding that too many job candidates he had interviewed weren’t qualified to work for his company.

He also said the Charleston area is an ideal “laboratory” for learning the business because of its diverse classes of real estate, from historic homes to large-scale industrial sites to high-end resort developments.

His family has long ties to the school. His mother can trace her heritage to Arthur Middleton, a founder of the College of Charleston and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Also, his two children are graduates.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.