Originally created 01/13/04

Work on Meybohm site will start soon



Meybohm Realtors will soon expand its presence in south Augusta, buoyed by a hot housing market and historically low mortgage rates.

To accommodate its growing business, the area's biggest real estate brokerage will move a few miles down Tobacco Road from its current location to an office roughly four times the size, said Bill Boatman, the company's executive vice president. Meybohm is set to begin construction in the next few weeks.

The building and the property represent an investment of more than $1 million. The cost is well worth it, Mr. Boatman said.

"The south Augusta real estate market has been very good to us," he said. "We have more than doubled our staff and sales, and we need more space."

The lowest mortgage rates in 30 years have helped young families and longtime renters borrow to buy starter homes in south Augusta, where the typical home sells for about $100,000. Industry watchers say rates are expected to stay low in the foreseeable future, boosting the area's appeal.

"There's a lot of subdivisions starting up over there, mostly for the smaller types of homes," said Ira Tindall, the outgoing president of the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors.

Meybohm's planned 12,000-square-foot office - nearly the space of two tennis courts - should open about six months after construction begins. Local architects Cheatham, Fletcher, Scott & Sears recently put the finishing touches on the design for the one-story structure.

The future site of the office places it next door to the newly opened First National Bank & Trust branch and closer to the new office of real estate rival Blanchard and Calhoun at the intersection of Tobacco and Windsor Spring roads. Both companies moved into the area for the same reason Meybohm is expanding - to tap a growing market.

In Meybohm's case, the housing boom caused the company to outgrow its space. Meybohm will sell its current office, Mr. Boatman said, which it opened in 1998 with 13 agents. Today the office employs 30. The new office will be large enough to hire 20 more agents if the need arises, he said.

Meybohm plans to use more than half of the new building for its real estate business and will lease the remaining office space to an insurance and mortgage company and law firm. The goal is to make the building a one-stop shop for home buyers, Mr. Boatman said.

Reach Matthew Mogul at (706) 823-3352 or matthew.mogul@augustachronicle.com.