Montgomery Business Journal

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Jerry Kyser Builder’s ‘Fairly Conservative Projects’ Pay Off

November/December 2013
By David Zaslawsky   
Photography by Robert Fouts

Jerry Kyser owns a vacant, 35,000-square-foot building across from the Montgomery Advertiser on Maxwell Boulevard.

The CEO of Jerry Kyser Builder, Inc. said he would like to convert the building to an arts complex with working spaces for a wide range of artists; space to display and sell their works; an upscale gift shop; and an educational aspect for people to learn about various arts.

That is the short-term idea for the space, but he has a much grander long-term view: a four- or five-story building that is mixed-use on the first floor and apartments or condominiums above it. Oh, there is a roof-top restaurant overlooking the Alabama River and a parking deck to eliminate any parking issues.

After 40-plus years, Kyser knows a thing or two about developments. His company owns apartment buildings, offices, shopping centers, warehouses and land. He and his brother own Kyser Fine Furnishings, Office Works and Kyser Property Management.

“Back in the early days, we worked seven days a week,” Kyser said. “By the time I was 19 years old until I was 45 years old, it was all work and no play. I never played a round of golf. I never hit a tennis ball.

“I think that most young people today get liabilities instead of assets because they have to have the latest iPhone; they have to have the nicest car they can afford; the most expensive house or apartment they can get; the biggest and latest TV; and that doesn’t leave a whole lot of money for investing.

“You have to sacrifice somewhere down the road – you can’t have it all.”

Kyser developed Peppertree Plaza on Vaughn Road and with the income from the shopping center he and two other investors bought land where Chantilly Parkway is now located. The trio of investors sold the land where Walmart is located. They sold the land where Lowe’s is located. They sold the land where Home Depot is located. They also owned the land where a $35 million, 150,000-square-foot Veterans Administration medical facility will be built and they owned the land where Carmike Cinemas is building a new 13-screen facility that will hold up to 2,800 people and will feature an 81-foot-wide, floor-to-ceiling screen.

Kyser is so unassuming he will casually talk about some of his projects, but it takes some prodding. He owns the Hank Williams Museum building. He owns the 104-unit Capital Towers apartment complex. He owns the downtown building behind the Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery-Downtown. He would like to have a country/western bar there and his company has completed work on the outside of the building.

His downtown holdings include the Dreamland Bar-B-Que building at The Alley; the 10 loft apartments above it; the upstairs banquet facility at 129 Coosa St. and the Central restaurant below it.

Kyser said the River Room, which is located off the main dining room of Central, can seat about 50 people or handle 150 people standing. The restaurant also has a cellar room downstairs that seats about 18 people.

He developed the cut-through at The Alley. A sushi restaurant – Wasabi Japanese Cuisine – opened in the summer and Kyser said he is looking for a couple of retailers to fill the opposite side.

“Most of these decisions on the tenants in these spaces are long-term investments so you want to try to get something that has some longevity; has some security; and also is a good fit for the area like the sushi restaurant,” Kyser said. “We have barbecue; we have Italian; we have Mexican; and we have Central. A sushi restaurant is a good fit.”

He is also looking for a tenant for the Dreamland basement. He talked about a blues bar or martini bar. “It’s unique down there,” Kyser said. “We’re trying to be selective of what we put in there – an upscale investment. We’re looking for the right type of entertainment venue or bar and it’s important to us due to the other investments we have in that building.” Kyser is also an investor in Dreamland Bar-B-Que.

He has a history of what he calls “fairly conservative projects” and avoided being overextended. He said the company did develop a lot of condos in the 1980s in Gulf Shores, which was his highest-risk project. They left the area after six years and did not lose any money.

“We’ve been fortunate over the last 40 years,” Kyser said. 

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    Kyser Fine Furnishings and Office Works

    41 Commerce Street, P.O. Box 79, Montgomery, Alabama 36101   Tel: 334.834.5200   Fax: 334.265.4745   Sitemap