The 4×100 relay, an Olympic event since early in the 20th century, is a staple in the track and field world. At its most basic, it’s not just about how well each runner performs their portion of the race; it’s also about how successfully one participant passes the baton to another.
In an industry as competitive as real estate, our races are often about who can run the furthest and the fastest for the longest. But, occasionally, an opportunity to pass the baton comes along, turning a “competition” into a collaboration.
Larry Davis is the broker/owner of Davis Properties of Northwest Florida, but that description is a slight. Davis has been selling and developing the beaches along Scenic Highway 30A since 1988, first in Seaside, Florida, and later with Abbott Resorts in Seagrove Beach. Two years later, he founded his own brokerage and played a pivotal role in shaping Rosemary Beach. In short, he is real estate royalty in the Florida Panhandle.
Davis and Blake Morar, broker/owner of Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty, first became acquainted in 1996, when the latter, a rookie real estate agent fresh out of college came calling for a job.
“He told me I could sit under an umbrella and serve lemonade and see if I could sell a couple lots in Sunrise Beach,” Morar remembered.
“That was back when he still had hair,” Davis quipped.
More than two decades later, the two men have intersected once again, as Davis “passes the baton” of his office building at 4130 East County Highway 30A in Seagrove to Morar, co-owner Chris Abbott and the 80-agent team at Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty.
“I’d probably been thinking about this for the past couple of years and certainly COVID brought a whole new perspective on people’s ability to telecommute,” Davis said. “You know, when we started in this business, the contracts were on pads. Then, came the fax machine. Then, came the flip phone. Now, we’ve got a computer in our hands.
“It’s the evolution of the industry, but it’s also an opportunity to reboot, to recalibrate my own business at Davis Properties. I’m not going out of business. I’m selling the building, not the business, and will continue to actively help friends and clients all along 30A. We’ve been around for 30 years and we’re not going away yet.”
Davis infused his 30A location with not only personality, but also a love of community. He quickly realized his location was convenient but lacking in resources for those walking or cycling 30A’s bike path.
“There was nowhere to sit down so we had a big, giant piece of watermelon turned into a bench where people could sit down and we’ve got different planters with everything from flowers to edible plants that different gardeners would take care of and kind of compete against each other to see who could make a bigger jungle. We’ve got a water bowl out for the dogs,” he said. “The visibility is tremendous. When I first sat out here, I watched 70 people go by, either jogging, on a bicycle or walking a pet, in about 20 minutes.
“We wanted to create an environment that was inviting, where residents and visitors could come by, sit, water their dogs and just enjoy it.”
The Davis Properties building was designed to accommodate individual workspaces as well as conference rooms, making it a perfect transition from one brokerage to another.
“You know, I’ve watched Blake’s success over the years. He’s gone from Destin Real Estate Company to Sotheby’s International Realty and just continues to set the world on fire. Sotheby’s is a force in our market.” Davis said. “Blake and Chris and I, we’re good friends. There’s a lot of mutual respect. It’s been a pleasure to work together over the years and I look forward to many more deals in the future.”
Morar said he is honored to continue the legacy of real estate in the location Davis founded.
“Chris and I both consider it an honor to take the time, to make the most of it for that location,” Morar said.