By Will McCullough
There’s been a good deal of positive buzz about the Beaufort area in the national media recently. Over just the past few days, we’ve seen thousands of fans line our downtown streets in order to show their support for local American Idol phenom Candice Glover, seen BHS alumni Devin Taylor drafted by the Detroit Lions and heard that Beaufort is named “America’s Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living Magazine. And, in case you missed it, we’ve had one other local entity receive some pretty impressive accolades recently and that’s Midtown Square, the new community in downtown Beaufort, located near the corner of Bladen and Prince streets.
Just last week, Southern Living Magazine, the largest regional lifestyle magazine in the U.S., announced that Midtown Square was being awarded the title of “Community/Development of the Year – 2013”. For a project that, only two years ago, was just a vacant patch of land resting in our city’s Northwest Quadrant, this is absolutely amazing. Before I go any further, I feel obligated to fully disclose that Deena and I are the Realtors who have been responsible for the marketing and sales of the community. For that reason, I have refrained from writing about Midtown until now as I didn’t want it to appear as if I was utilizing this column for blatant self-serving purposes. However, as the project is now nearly sold out, I felt it was finally an appropriate time to share a little insight on what I personally feel made the development such a success. It all boils down to the product, the location and the people involved and, while I could spend a lot of time heralding both the product and the location, I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a good bit about that in other publications over the next few months. Instead, I’d like to focus for a few minutes on the people; the local folks and business that you may not hear about otherwise and were, in my opinion, instrumental to the project’s success.
Steven Tully is the developer for the project and I can say from firsthand experience that this man puts Beaufort first in his decision making process. On multiple occasions, I’ve witnessed Steve make decisions that would better benefit the city as a whole when choosing the alternative might have better benefited his bottom line. He’s the type of leader who puts forth a vision and ensures it stays on track and does so without micromanaging. In short, he’s a true asset to our community.
Allen Patterson Residential, the builder for Midtown Square, has accomplished what I consider to be akin to a miracle. It’s practically impossible to drive down Bladen Street and not be awed by his work. But what most people don’t know is that almost every single one of these custom homes were built by Allen and his team for clients who were living hundreds of miles away during the actual build. The volume of client-builder communication required to allow multiple long distance clients to show up on closing day to a custom dream home built to their specification is Herculean and Allen, Julie, Peggy, Rod, Nate and their crews should be commended.
Allison Ramsey Architects has been responsible for the lion’s share of the designs utilized for marketing Midtown Square yet their contribution to the success of the community didn’t stop there. Once again, reliable communication proved to be a crucial factor. I’d already be retired if I had a dollar for every time one of us picked up the phone, at all hours of the day, and asked Cooter Ramsey for pictures, plans, modifications and opinions. The catch was that not only did Allison Ramsey always deliver; they did so in an extremely timely manner.
Lenders & Attorneys: While buyers successfully utilized a variety of quality lenders and attorneys to represent them during their purchases, a few local entities stand out to me as I write this. Lender SCB&T and attorney David Tedder reliably served builder Allen Patterson Residential throughout the project. Harvey & Battey Law Firm served the developer equally well and, along with CBC National Bank, was also kind enough to assist with multiple open house marketing events. I can’t stress enough how many “moving parts” these transactions had and the overwhelming amount of communication these local lenders, attorneys and paralegals exchanged to ensure all parties were well served.
Working at Lowcountry Real Estate is an absolute pleasure for Deena and me. From a sales perspective, Edward Dukes, John Trask, Donna Duncan and all of the agents at Lowcountry were a source of constant support, guidance and motivation. It should be pointed out that the entire community might never have taken off as quickly had Lowcountry agent Gary Glaeser not initiated the momentum by bringing the first buyer almost exactly two years ago.
Making the decision to purchase in Midtown, only a few years after the collapse of the national real estate market, took a degree of pioneer spirit from the first several buyers. But these early buyers did their homework and moved forward. The community would obviously never have taken off without these first few pioneers as well.
I have no doubt that I’ve missed mentioning many who made powerful contributions to Midtown Square and, for that, I apologize. I also recognize that there are many equally great lenders, attorneys, etc. in the Beaufort area and this column is not meant as an endorsement of any of the entities I named. One should always choose representatives whom they personally feel most comfortable with. My motivation is simply to state that Midtown Square’s success was brought about by a wide array of local businesses and individuals, each focused on making sure their piece of the puzzle fit perfectly with all the others. This, in general, just seems to be something the people of Beaufort do quite well. While I personally was extremely lucky to be associated with the project, I’m even luckier to live in a community that so excels at working together towards a common goal.