“Real estate development is a high-stakes gamble,” said Michael Maher of the WestEdge Foundation. Maher and his company have spent the last 15 years planning for and working on a large and complicated project in Charleston, South Carolina. Maher joned five other developers in discussing their current projects at the ULI Carolinas Meeting in Greenville, South Carolina.
Besides Maher, the panelists were Tom Finnegan, co-owner of Spartanburg LLC; Jessica Brock, managing director, Longfellow Real Estate Partners; Tommy Mann, development director of ATCO; Kenneth Bowers, deputy planning director, city of Raleigh, North Carolina; and Mike Harrell, partner at Beacon Partners. Speakers largely echoed Maher’s sentiment in one way or another. Panelists discussed projects that may or may not pan out; difficult relationships with lenders; plans that changed and then changed again; and adaptive use concepts that were harder than expected. Eventually, the projects will come to fruition and will be beautiful, but getting there can certainly be a headache.