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Front Page - Friday, September 13, 2019

Modern development meets old school service

Fletcher Bright Realty looking to open eyes with The Fairpoint

Being the oldest residential real estate brokerage in the city has its perks.

For example, after 92 years of selling houses in and around Chattanooga, Fletcher Bright Realty enjoys a reputation for doing things old school, which in real estate parlance is synonymous with integrity and rock-solid customer service.

“People expect us to do what we say we’re going to do and go the extra mile for them,” says broker Betty Smith, who’s been with the company for 39 years. “And that’s how we’ve always done things. People tell us they’ve never heard anything negative about Fletcher Bright Realty.”

People can also form misconceptions when they hear a brokerage has been around for nearly a century. They might mistake “old school” to mean “behind the times” and assume the firm concentrates on re-selling the city’s old-brick neighborhoods.

But Fletcher Bright is taking on a decidedly modern North Shore condominium project the company hopes will turn heads as well as turn misconceptions about what it means to be the longest-standing residential real estate company in the city upside-down, says listing agent Margaret Thompson.

“It’s the first new condominium development along North Shore in a number of years,” she says, adding, “and the views are going to be incredible.”

The development is called The Fairpoint, a $7 million complex perched atop a hill that overlooks Cherokee Boulevard – as well as most of downtown Chattanooga and the surrounding area.

With ground-level parking and three floors of condos, the building will extend those views even further once its rooftop terrace is in place.

Residents will also be able to appreciate the scenery from their private balconies.

The sleek, modern design for which local designer Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects (hkarchitects.net) have become known, through its residential and commercial work in the area, will define the interior of the units.

Thompson says the lifestyle at Fairpoint will take its cue from the live/work/play vibe that has helped to sell similar developments on the Southside. “You’ll be able walk to everything on the North Shore,” she says. “It will also be convenient to downtown.”

This lifestyle is luring people who want smaller residences with no yard out of the suburbs and back to the city, Thompson adds. “It’s an easier lifestyle. They don’t want to spend their leisure time doing yard work and cleaning gutters.”

Fairpoint will house 26 condos, including two one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units. Pricing will range from “the mid-200s to the mid-400s,” Thompson points out.

Lizzer Graham, an affiliate broker with Fletcher Bright, says this is the right time for Fairpoint. “People have been focusing on the Southside for a number of years,” she says. “Now things are swinging back to North Shore. There’s a lot of development taking place on Cherokee.”

Fletcher Bright Company, a separate business entity from Fletcher Bright Realty and the developer of Fairpoint, is responsible for at least a portion of the burgeoning revival on Cherokee, including a newly built shopping center that’s home to Heaven & Ale Brewing Company, Fast Break Athletics, Abby Lane Boutique and the restaurant First Watch.

Fletcher Bright Company has made a name for itself developing and managing similar shopping centers across the Southeast. But it’s also completed its share of residential projects, including 1 North Shore Condominiums on Manufacturers Boulevard.

1 North Shore also includes ample commercial space on the ground floor. Within one of these business units, Fletcher Bright Realty recently opened a street-level office meant to serve as a marketing center for Fairpoint.

After calling the company’s fourth floor offices in the Market Court building downtown home for 25 years, Graham is pleased that Fletcher Bright has something more visible and readily accessible to homebuyers.

“You can see our logo on the outside of the Market Court building, but you have to get into a yoga position,” she continues. “There’s no street presence in our downtown office.”

After parking in the Republic lot adjacent to 1 North Shore, clients will need to walk to the far end of the building, where Keller Williams Commercial resided before that company moved to Washington Street. There, they will find Fletcher Bright Realty, which will be open during regular office hours and have agents on duty to help homebuyers.

Just inside the door, the company is setting up its Fairpoint room, where Thompson and co-listing agent Ellen Brooks will make sales presentations and close deals.

From there, the agents will make a three-minute drive to Fairpoint to show potential buyers the units in person.

If all goes as planned, the units will sell quickly, Thompson says. “We already have five under contract.”

Company history

Fletcher Bright Realty is an offshoot of Fletcher Bright Company, which began life as Glascock–Bright Realtors when Gardner Bright and James Glascock teamed up to sell houses in 1927.

The company became known as Gardner Bright Realtors in 1953 – the same year Fletcher Bright joined the company. When Gardner died in 1960, the company was renamed Fletcher Bright Realtors.

Jack Martin joined the company in 1964, and together with Fletcher, developed Elder Mountain, a sprawling mountaintop residential community. Fletcher Bright Company then entered the commercial real estate business in 1969 with the purchase of its first shopping centers in Phoenix City, Alabama, and Cleveland, Tennessee.

Through the ensuing years, Fletcher Bright Company began offering commercial mortgage banking services, opened an office in Atlanta and continued to welcome new generations of Brights to the company - including George Bright, who was the third generation of his family to be involved in the business, and Graham, Fletcher’s daughter.

Today, 42 residential and commercial agents operate under the Fletcher Bright Realty banner. Smith says the family atmosphere nurtured by multiple generations of Brights persists and the company enjoys its reputation as a real estate boutique where the agents do what they say they’ll do and go the extra mile for clients.

“We don’t compete against the bigger companies,” Smith says. “We’re small, and we value each transaction, regardless of its size, and every client.”

This approach has generated ample repeat business over the years and continues to bring clients back today. “I just closed with a client I started working with in 1979. It was my eleventh closing with them,” Smith adds.

Thompson and Brooks are 26 closings away from selling out Fairpoint – and they’re confident they’ll get there sooner rather than later.

“They’ve already broken ground and are excavating now,” Thompson says. “They’ll be pouring the footings within the month.”

Learn more about Fairpoint at www.thefairpoint.com. Contact Thompson or Brooks at 423 752-0188.