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Bright outlook on real estate: Chattanooga businessman started in the company in 1953

Bright joined his father, Gardner, in the real estate business right out of Davidson College ... Award at the 28th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I just love bluegrass and jazz," he said. "I have an abiding love ...

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* 1980 to present - Fletcher Bright Cohas been involved in hundreds of shopping center transactions throughout the Southeast and Midwest while continuing to be a involved in residential sales in the Chattanooga area.Source: Fletcher Bright Co. The company president quipped that "It's like drinking from a fire hose, but I thoroughly enjoyed it." The company probably has about 100 shopping centers in the Southeast and Midwest, Fletcher Bright says, and it has likely constructed that many, or more, Walmarts over the yearsBut Bright says projects sometimes slow down for companies as it as with Walmart store construction. "When commercial is booming, you hit the cash register bigger, but it's not always booming," he said"You have to have something else to go to." The residential "stepchild" That "something" for the company has been the residential side of its real estate business. "It tended to be the stepchild along the way sometimes," Bright said, though residential sales are "doing well" today. "It has never been at full potential, but it's getting there," the businessman said. For example, he says, if he had a condominium on the market on the North Shore, he'd ask for just three days to sell it. "Chattanooga is booming," Bright said"It's just things have come together." A number of years ago, Chattanooga wasn't doing much, the business owner says, and it appeared it wasn't going anywhere"It was a lazy town — not so today," he said. At the same time, Bright says, if a tenant wants the company to go to Texas or other places for a project, it will go. "Usually out-of-town work is driven by a tenant who wants us to build something," he said. Today, Bright says that he's "a little bit bullish." While the downturn of the Great Recession hit about a decade ago, it lasted a lot longer than some people thought, along with what he termed "a hangover," the current climate is "a welcome relief," he said. "It's not 100 percent across the board," Bright said"Some big box users have pulled in their horns and are not buildingBut in the aggregate, there's a lot of activityIt's as good as I've seen it recently." Bright also recalls that during the recession, the company kept on building its Two North Shore condominium complex on the North Shore. "When we built it, we brought it right through one of the worst crunches we've ever had," he said"You couldn't sell anythingWe borrowed more money, and it was scaryYou think you're never going to get out alive, and the banks can be rather unforgiving." A legal perspective on development Bright, in fact, thought that he was going into banking after collegeWhile he was at Davidson, he worked summers at what was then Hamilton National Bank. But, Bright says, his father had made him a proposition to join the company and "it was a pretty easy decision." While he joined the real estate company, he says he continued to go to school at nightHe garnered his master's in business administration and a law degree. "I did it feeling it would help in the real estate business," Bright said, adding that both his grandfathers had been lawyers. Having a legal background resulted in him doing quite a bit of condemnation appraisal workIt was about the time the interstate was coming through the city, and the work turned out "to be a good source of revenue," Bright said. Frequently, the cases ended up in court and it didn't hurt to have a bit of legal experience, he says. Mountaintop experience About a decade after Bright joined the business, Jack Martin came on board and they developed Elder Mountain, a 300-plus-acre residential project. "If I knew what I should have known, I probably would not have undertaken it," he saidThe scope of work included building a road to the top, putting in a water system and selling lots and houses. "We had good times and bad all through that periodI can remember laying awake at night wondering how I was going to get out alive, but it workedIt cost twice as much as I thought and took us twice as long as I thought," Bright said. Still, the project turned out as something of which he's proud, he says. The commercial pivot Bright recalls that in 1969, the business took what he terms "a pretty good departure" into commercial. "You don't turn away business," he said"We're opportunists." Today, Bright says that the company has a talented development team. "We've got a lot of talent," he said"It's pretty exciting times." For Bright, the company is somewhat of a family affairIn addition to George, he has another son and daughters as well as a son-in-law who work or have worked at the company, and a grandson who's there now. Along with Bright's real estate interests, he's also known for his music as a founder of the bluegrass band the Dismembered Tennesseans, a group that formed in 1945 at McCallie SchoolIn September, Bright received a Distinguished Achievement Award at the 28th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards in Raleigh, North Carolina. "I just love bluegrass and jazz," he said"I have an abiding love for it." Laura Walker, executive director of the Folk School of Chattanooga, has been the lead singer of the Dismembered Tennesseans for over 20 yearsLast year, she nominated Bright for the Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award, which Bright received from ArtsBuild for his support of arts and culture in Chattanooga. "Fletcher Bright is a renaissance man — a successful real estate builder, developer and manager, a real tycoon," Walker said when the award was presented"But foremost, he is a musician, playing piano and fiddle, well and strong, with a smile on his face, sharing his love of music with fellow musicians and performing for audiences far and wide." Contact Mike Pare at or at 757-6340 More Articles Read previous article Chattanooga firm to help U.SNavy figure out how to 3-D print explosives [photos] Read next article Fleming: Launching a potential leader Chattanooga Times Free Press (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Loading... //BEGIN custom settings var API_DOMAIN = ""; var POSTAL_CODE = "37416"; var RADIUS = 50; var RETURN_COUNT = 6; var TRACK_IMPRESSIONS = true; //END custom settings //BEGIN system variables var gblSearchId = 0; var gblSeenIds = []; //END system variables $(function () { $.ajax(API_DOMAIN + "/PromotedVehicles/Get", { data: { //parameters to send with the request api_key: "1aa5808f-7616-490c-b361-2021b489837f", postalCode: POSTAL_CODE, returnCount: RETURN_COUNT, radius: RADIUS }, xhrFields: { withCredentials: true //required, so the request can send/receive cookies }, traditional: true //required, if you pass arrays to the API in the data parameter }) .done(function (data) { //if there is an error message, display it if (typeof data.ErrorMessage !== "undefined") { console.log(data.ErrorMessage); $("#vehicles").html("No vehicles found."); } //otherwise, do something with the data else { //gather variables from the response to use later var dealRankNames = [data.DealRank1Name, data.DealRank2Name, data.DealRank3Name, data.DealRank4Name, data.DealRank5Name]; var dealRankUnknownName = data.DealRankUnknownName; var redirectUrlBase = data.RedirectUrlBase; gblSearchId = data.SearchId; //build the html var html = "No vehicles found."; if (data.Count > 0) { var htmlVehicles = new Array(); $.each(data.Vehicles, function (key, obj) { html = ""; html += ' + obj.Title + ""; html += ""; html += "$" + obj.Price.toLocaleString() + ""; html += ""; for (var i = 1; i 0) html += dealRankNames[i-1] + ""; for (var i = 0; i 0) { html = ""; var num = Math.floor(Math.random() * htmlVehicles.length); for (var i = 0; i 0) { $.ajax("", { data: { impressedVehicles: unseenImpressedVehicles, sourceUri: window.location.href, sid: gblSearchId}, method: "POST", xhrFields: { withCredentials: true } }); } } } #vehicles {clear: both;width:133px; height:180px; } #vehicles .vehicle { margin-bottom: 5px; padding: 7px; text-align: center; } #vehicles .vehicle h4 { height: 32px; margin: 0 0 4px; font-size: 13px; overflow: hidden; } #vehicles .vehicle img { max-height: 75px;} #vehicles .vehicle p { margin: 0; } #vehicles .vehicle .price { font-weight: bold; font-size: 18px; line-height: 17px; } #vehicles .vehicle .deal-rank {display: none;margin: 3px 0 0; font-size: 14px; line-height: 14px; } #vehicles .vehicle .cat1, #vehicles .vehicle .cat2 { color: #900; } #vehicles .vehicle .cat4, #vehicles .vehicle .cat5 { color: green; } #vehicles .vehicle:last-child { margin-right: 0; } Latest Articles Roy Moore not conceding Senate race to Doug Jones Corker co-sponsors gun legislation that strengthens background check system Boyd-Buchanan engineering students design equipment for disabled educator Conservative research group bashes Chattanooga's Ironman event funding Neediest Cases Fund helps Chattanooga veteran pay bills Attorneys for Ooltewah assault victims demand to see private documents used to create report Tennessee mom who posted video of bullied son denies being racist Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama's U.SSenate election in stunning upset Two people arrested in Marion County on drug charges Nursing home trio sentenced for allowing ants to bite patient in Cherokee County, Ala. 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