Remembering the past with Colonel Buddy Styers
This story is part 2 of a 7 part series, which chronicles the redevelopment of the former Air Force base into the Market Common area as we know it today. Our history continues where we left off with the October issue.
As the redevelopment plan from the former Air Force base into the Market Common called for an urban village, Buddy was trying to find a developer who had the financial wherewithal as well as experience to build them one. So the next step was to put out a request for bids from commercial real estate companies. This was done, and interested bidders met with the Redevelopment Authority board to make presentations. Because the project was so large, they all felt that a local real estate company wouldn’t be a match for the task. So the board selected a large-scale commercial real estate company from Atlanta. After a year, that company didn’t bring them one single prospect, so Buddy terminated the relationship.
“After that,” says Buddy, “I decided I had nothing to lose in looking at local real estate companies. We had presentations offered us by two.” Within a couple of months, the board was considering the proposals of Gary Roberts, the Broker in Charge of the local chapter of Coldwell Banker, and another local real estate company. The board chose Gary Roberts, and gave him an exclusive listing to bring them a master developer with financial strength and experience in building urban villages. This was late in 2003.
With this selection, Buddy and the board’s luck took a turn for the better. In less than three months, Gary did what the other company had not been able to do in a year. Gary had a friend in Wilmington, who had a contact in a national development company located in Washington, D.C. They had the money to build an urban village and also had a connection with McCaffery Interests, a master developer. They were the right fit.
“It still took a while to implement the plan after that,” Buddy says. “We had to work with the city to find out about zoning and construction permits.” In about 1 year, they struck a deal to sell McCaffery Interests the 110 acres which now makes up the Market Common district. They sold them that property, and McCaffery Interests committed to building them an urban village. McCaffery Interests, led by Dan McCaffery, had already built one in Arlington, Virginia. “It was exactly what myself, and Jack Walker, the city planning director at the time, had envisioned for Myrtle Beach,” says Buddy. “In the late 80’s this was the hot buzz word— urban village— a place where people can live, work, shop and play. It was still a buzz word in the years 2002-2003 as we looked more closely at how to redevelop this piece of property.”
“We were just fortunate,” Buddy continues, “that we found Dan McCaffery; and that one of his finance partners, Leucadia International, a publicly traded company, approved of the project. Dan had many connections that opened further doors for Buddy and ensured the forward movement of the redevelopment project. Dan had his own architectural firm out of Chicago, and that company became the architects for the project. He also had a relationship with a construction company out of San Francisco called Plant Construction, who ended up being the builders of the Market Common.
So the team was in place, and plans were underway.
To see last month’s edition of The Redevelopment Years of the Market Common, click here!