BaySouth, Catalyst move ahead with upscale James Island neighborhood

Business and personal unions are progressing hand in hand for principals in a new community not far from Folly Beach.

The neighborhood, Battery Oaks, consists of six home sites on lower James Island. The lots are ˝ acre apiece, and three sites are left, according to real estate agency BaySouth Realty Inc. and builder Catalyst.

Homes start at 2,515 square feet and are priced from $404,900. Floor plans include the Santee, Allendale and Richmond.

"Beautiful live oaks, spacious porches (and) quality construction" highlight the property off Battery Island Road, backers say. The neighborhood stands a couple of miles from Folly Beach.

Sandra Brown heads up BaySouth Realty. She grew up in Murrells Inlet and has 19 years' experience in real estate, starting in March 1995. She owns Brown & Co. Real Estate in Myrtle Beach. Brown, who moved to Mount Pleasant in 2011, and Rick Estee are getting married this weekend. Estee owns Catalyst Builders.

BaySouth Realty, according to Brown, assists new-home builders with sales and marketing, notably on smaller neighborhoods such as Battery Oaks. She has also assisted with marketing property at Battery Gaillard in West Ashley.

For more information, call Brown at 843-450-1365 or email BaySouthSandra@gmail.com.

Local company lands in top 50 multifamily housing owners

A Charleston-based business that manages more apartments than any other venture has gained traction as an owner, too, according to one respected industry guide.

Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC placed first in multifamily properties under management with 214,696 units.

It was the fourth straight year Greystar was on top, according to the 2014 National Multifamily Housing Council's list and descriptions of the 50 largest rental property owners and managers.

The number of apartment homes that Greystar oversees rose 8.1 percent from 198,533 units last year.

Separately, Greystar jumped to 28th place on the 2014 ownership list with 40,544 units in its portfolio, more than double the year before. The company fell short of the top 50 last year, when it owned properties totaling 20,124 units.

Nationwide, apartment transactions involving purchases and sales of rental complexes nearly set a record last year, falling just 1.4 percent short of the all-time high in 2007, according to the Washington, D.C.-based council.

El Paso, Texas-headquartered Hunt Cos./LEDIC Managed Group Affiliates passed Boston Capital for the top spot on the owners list at 253,295 units.

Mark Obrinsky, the council's chief economist and senior vice president of research, provides a mixed outlook on the U.S. apartment market.

"While rental demand continues to rise, new apartment supply still came up short," he says.

"Top apartment executives looked to best position their companies to take advantage of the market recovery and larger portfolio deals and acquisitions marked the year," Obrinsky says. "This level of trading resulted in more than the usual degree of shake-up in the apartment industry last year."

According to the council, full rankings and detailed analysis can be accessed at www.nmhc.org/NMHC50.

Summerville-based The Ponds village moves forward under new developer

Launched as a custom-home community, The Ponds has adeptly changed course in a trying housing market.

Today the Dorchester County neighborhood embraces five new-homes builders, touts a gated retirement community and welcomes a new Florida developer.

Kolter Homes LLC oversees the community on U.S. Highway17A just west of Summerville, which when built out will have 1,950 residences. The company took over from original developer Greenwood Homes and Neighborhoods last year.

Builders consist of national company D.R. Horton, regional contractors Saussy Burbank and HHHunt Homes and local and statewide framers Mungo Homes and Sabal Homes. D.R. Horton backs the active adult community, Carillon at The Ponds.

Amenities surround a 19th century farmhouse, including a swimming pool and meeting area. There's also a natural amphitheater on one of the many ponds on the oak-studded property. Meanwhile, the community's borders take in the local YMCA and a fire station.

For more information, visit www.discovertheponds.com.

Agency adds associates in Beaufort area, Mount Pleasant

Expanding coverage along the shoreline, Weichert, Realtors-Palmetto Coast has brought on specialists east of the Cooper and in the South Carolina Low Country.

Real estate agent Kimberly D. Coolican and office assistant Leslie M. O'Donnoghue are new associates on the regional agency's sales team.

Coolican, who's amassed five years as a licensed Realtor, moved to Beaufort a-year-and-a-half ago, the company says. The Beaufort County Association of Realtors member will assist property buyers and sellers in the county.

Sporting a background in teaching, engineering and the military, Coolican holds a bachelor's degree in business, an associate's degree in engineering and a state teacher certification. She also has multiple real estate credentials.

O'Donnoghue grew up in Charleston County and has lived 28 years in Mount Pleasant, according to Weichert.

She holds paralegal, configuration management and Capability Maturity Model Integration certificates. Her background includes paralegal work and information technology expertise.

O'Donnoghue counts an extensive list of organizations, namely The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Palmetto Chapter of Women in Defense, CMMI Rocks! and The National Association of Legal Assistants.

She is a co-founder of the East Cooper Democrats and is active with the Charleston Association of Legal Assistants.

Weichert, Realtors-Palmetto Coast established its headquarters in Mount Pleasant and has a second office in Port Royal. New Jersey-based Weichert's real estate affiliates are spread among 240 markets in 37 states.

For more information, call 843-375-2075 or go online to www.weichertpc.com.

Local Realtors pass association's leadership program

Not so long ago, college basketball showcased the "Sweet 16" finalists for its men's and women's tournaments.

This 16 isn't on such a large countrywide stage but the honor likely proved plenty sweet. They're real estate agents who graduated in the 2014 class of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors' Leadership Development Program.

The two-month program aimed to provide those interested in leadership roles the education and training to enhance and develop those skills, according CTAR.

There were three sessions focusing on a different leadership development skill: teambuilding, communication and community activism and effective leadership. Speakers for the various sessions included locale media and communication expert Ryan Nelson Goldwater with Nelwater Consulting, representatives of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Stanfield Gray from Dig South, Lee Deas Brown with Obviouslee Marketing, Jamee Haley of Lowcountry Local First and Chris Fraser with Avison Young.

"We designed this program to help our members develop their leadership and communication skills, which will help them not only if they choose to pursue a leadership position with the association or in the community, but also in their day-to-day business," says Wil Riley, the association's chief executive.

"We provide the opportunity for our members to learn from those who have achieved success in real estate as well as other industries," he says.

Program graduates this year are:

-Krista Barnes, Carolina One Real Estate Mount Pleasant North office

-Rosanne Burke, Carolina One Real Estate Charleston Central office

-Odessa Brown, AgentOwned Realty

-Ryan Castle, Charleston Trident Association of Realtors

-Tenia Cattles, Century 21 Properties Plus

-John Cowan, Carolina One Real Estate Charleston Central office

-Valarie Frasier, Carolina Elite Real Estate

-Vickie Herrington, Keller Williams

-Bridgett Mashore, Mashore Realty Group

-Jan Miller, ERA Wilder Realty

-Caroline Parker, Parker Realty, LLC

Alice Swope Thompson, Carolina One Real Estate Charleston Central office

-Carey Tipple, Daniel Island Real Estate

-Philippa Ward, Arthur Ravenel Jr. Co.

-Ryan Welch, Lee & Associates

-Linda Witte, Keller Williams

Anyone interested in taking part in the CTAR Leadership Development Program must be a Realtor in good standing and apply for the program. To learn more, visit www.CharlestonRealtors.com.

Veteran agent taps Century 21

A real estate professional approaching two decades in the field recently joined a local affiliate of one of the largest brokerages in the U.S.

Anthony Detyens Doar signed on with Century 21 Properties Plus. The real estate veteran, who goes by "Tony," brings more than 17 years experience in real estate and facility management.

His resume includes jobs with CBRE, Iron Mountain and Comcast.

Doar has a bachelor's degree in communications from Pacific University and a certification in facility management from Northeastern. He will work from Century 21's Mount Pleasant office.

For more information, visit www.century21properties.com.

David Weekley names "build on your lot" pro for Hilton Head Island

Tisha Chafer signed on with a top homebuilder so she can help walk customers through the sometimes-arduous steps of getting their residences built.

A 10-year real estate veteran, she joined David Weekley Homes in February as a "build on your lot specialist."

She's part of the company's Custom Classics Distinctive Residences team for the Hampton Hall neighborhood and greater Hilton Head Island.

"Maintaining a positive attitude in all circumstances is key," Chafer says. "I enjoy assisting customers with the building process, because it's a hugely rewarding experience."

The gated Hampton Hall community, which features David Weekley homes, showcases amenities such as a Pete Dye signature golf course, top-notch health and fitness center and biking and walking trails. The village consists of power-efficient EnergySaver homes, which come with a heating and cooling "energy use" guarantee backed by the Environments for Living program.

Houston-based David Weekley Homes operates in 18 communities nationwide including Charleston and Hilton Head. Since inception 38 years ago, the company has closed more than 70,000 homes nationwide.

For more information, contact Chafer at 843-384-1645 or the company's web site at www.davidweekleyhomes.com.

New business takes novel approach as home buyer, restorer, seller

On a 2010 visit to the Charleston area, British "expatriate" Chris Leigh-Jones and American wife Sabrina realized something significant.

They were so enamored with the city's historic properties and "blended American/European culture" that they wanted to move here.

The eventual result: what backers call "a business like no other in the city."

Chris and Sabrina Leigh-Jones, both experienced entrepreneurs, cobbled together funds from past investments and company sales to start Luxury Simplified Group.

Supporters describe the group as a "one-of-a-kind company that brings together real estate, renovation, restoration, building, design and development, all under one roof." The group also reaches beyond its "roof," so to speak, to attract outside expertise.

John Paul Huguley, founder of the American College of the Building Arts and principal of Building Art LLC, provides key advise on restoration projects, the group says. And he often employs skilled artisans, who graduated from the college, for specialized jobs that are hard to find in Charleston.

"We offer distinctive services most home buyers have to go to four or five different companies to get," co-owner Chris Leigh-Jones says. "Now they only need to make one stop, at Luxury Simplified, to get everything they need to buy and restore a beautiful home."

Under the direction of Leigh-Jones and associate Lucas Morrison, Luxury Simplified Group has acquired more than 40 properties for renovation while completing restoration of more than 20 houses on the peninsula, mostly on Charleston's East Side.

"The area east of Meeting Street is such a jewel," Leigh-Jones says. "We love the idea of restoring historic properties while helping to improve a neighborhood which already has wonderful character and people."

For instance, Luxury Simplified Group bought and has started renovating an Amherst Street building to become headquarters for the company's construction arm.

All of the group's staff now work from the Major Peter Bocquet's House, at 95 Broad Street. The historic property was also the company's first restoration project. The second floor drawing room serves as headquarters for the newly formed Luxury Simplified Real Estate - headed by broker Bill Eby and Realtor/broker Mary Shannon Swanson and including four other Realtors, backers say.

While based in Charleston's downtown, Luxury Simplified Group has crossed to Europe to renovate historic buildings in towns in the United Kingdom and France. Most recently, the group restored a large stone-built vicarage and medieval era "alms" houses in Chris Leigh-Jones' home town in Wales.

"No doubt about it, we are breaking the mold," he says.

Additionally, Luxury Simplified group supports non-profits in Charleston, creates scholarships for students at the American College of the Building Arts and donates money to the River Oaks Girls Home, Preservation Society, Historic Charleston Foundation and Spoleto USA.

"It's important for us to not only run a cash-flowing company that helps the Charleston economy, but also give back to this wonderful community which has welcomed us in with open arms," Leigh-Jones says.

For more information, visit www.luxurysimplifiedgroup.com.

Townhomes return to Smythe Park on Daniel Island

For the first time since 2005, new townhomes are available on the south end of Daniel Island in the popular Smythe Park neighborhood.

John Wieland Homes is currently building the first of its Townsend Place Townhomes. The new homes overlook their namesake, Townsend Park. The one-acre open space contains a sports field, covered picnic area and a new trail to connect to the larger Smythe Park.

According to Daniel Island Real Estate, there will be two townhomes buildings. Each building will feature five homes with high quality finishes throughout.

The three-bedroom, three-and-a half-bath homes boast hardwood floors, wainscoting, crown molding, gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and optional elevator.

Prices start in the low $600,000s. For more, visit www.danielisland.com.