No one can argue that Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has gone through a string of changes lately that has the eye of many developers as the next place to build upon the ever growing downtown area. We asked 40 year commercial real estate veteran, Rhett Mouchet of Judge Commercial about his thoughts on the changes, additions and what he hopes to see become of it all.
What are some of the changes you’ve seen over the past decade with the Martin Luther King Blvd. corridor?
R.M. – The MLK Blvd. corridor has seen a lot of changes and development over the years. However, recently the corridor has finally gained acceptance from Savannahian’s as well as national developers as a viable expansion corridor of downtown.
One of the first significant transactions on MLK was the sale of the former Dearing Chevrolet Dealership on the corner of MLK and Oglethorpe Avenue more than 15 years ago. With over five acres of land this site later became the location for the Hampton Inn and, most recently, the Embassy Suites. The sale of this property initiated the southward trend of hospitality based businesses. It wasn’t long afterward that the Marriott Courtyard followed the development trend.
How has MLK been affected by the recent changes on Broughton?
R.M. – With virtually no vacancy on Broughton Street in the retail sector, vendors and developers are looking for opportunities in other sectors of town. MLK Blvd. is now primed and in the prefect condition to become the “Next Broughton Street.”
What highlights of MLK developments do you see really changing the dynamic of the street?
R.M – The addition of fine dining restaurants, like The Grey for example, and hopefully future mixed used projects will help encompass entire city blocks. The developments in the area around the Thrify Hardware block will also encourage high pedestrian traffic. A very likely enhancement to the street will be the removal of the overpass, thereby eliminating any barriers for future growth south on MLK. With the combination of these developments and more, the corridor will be restored, hopefully, to a significant music and entertainment district, as it was in the early part of the 20th century.
How do you see these new changes encouraging growth in the next few years for the corridor?
R.M. – New growth sectors will emerge along Gwinnett Street, Montgomery Street and other surrounding areas encompassing residential and providing additional services.
What do you hope to see happen over the next few years for that area?
R.M. – Increased landscaping and pedestrian walkways, restoration and upgrades of existing buildings. It’s exciting to see how much development and interest in that sector that is going on. I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses over the next few years. The potential is really amazing.
In the last 39 years, Rhett Mouchet has played a role in brokering and leasing some of the most significant transactions in the region. Those transactions include distinguishable buildings and land within the Historic District, land for master planned communities and commercial development, shopping centers and investment properties around the area. They include the historic Candler Hospital building (now the Savannah Law School), approximately 159 acres of land that became Chatham Center, the sale of the Backus Cadillac property to become Whole Foods, almost the entire eastern end of Hutchinson Island and several sites for Food Lion anchored shopping centers.
Two years ago, he was joined by his son Tyler, a graduate of Ole Miss with a degree in Real Estate. They are a very committed and proud “father and son team” and are currently involved in over $35,000,000 in “working transactions.”
In addition to striving for “excellence” in their Real Estate profession, both father and son are committed to placing a high value to “giving back” to Savannah and are committed to church, family, and community.
Judge Realty now manages over 60 commercial units and have been the leading brokerage company to streamline the major developments on Broughton Street, Liberty Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard selling over $66 million last year.
Judge Realty is Savannah’s only full service, locally owned and operated brokerage company. Celebrating 10 years in business, Judge Realty specializes in residential and commercial real estate, as well as in property management and rentals.
For more information about commercial development along the MLK Blvd. corridor contact Rhett and Tyler Mouchet at 912-236-1000.