By Rita Montgomery
What do tickets, music, and old Seagrove have in common? Charlie Ryan. After college, Charlie taught G.E.D. courses in a prison work-release center. That dose of reality gave him a keen sense of freedom. He moved to Montana and camped by the Swan River. That wide open space permanently broadened his perspective. Charlie Ryan is unafraid to dive headfirst into varying industry waters.
Young Charlie returned to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, and started a carpentry business, through which he met event promoter Bob Kelley. Charlie purchased an interest in Kelley’s business, Ticket Hub. The successful business was bought out by Ticketmaster. In 1996, Charlie used his earnings to purchase Sea Grove Campground and RV Park. Charlie explains, “Visitors ran the spectrum from renters and locals (when they snuck in) to foreign campers who were ‘European’ on the beach.”
As the new urbanism era took off, Charlie developed the land into a two-part neighborhood: one Gulf-front and the other on
the north side of 30A. He named it SeaNest. I became friends with Charlie in early 2000. I watched the twin homes at the gate go up
board by board and hosted a successful launch party soirée. I have sold numerous homesites on the north side in Phases 1 and 2, as well as other properties for Charlie. My favorites are a Point Washington fishing camp-style home and Phase 2 of The Estuary. I’m thankful that our professional friendship has spanned almost two decades.
Charlie describes SeaNest as an aesthetic mix of West Indies and Mediterranean design. Carey McWhorter designed the entire subdivision, and Eric Watson designed the identical houses that are bookends at the north gate, one of whichbecame Charlie’s 30A home. The McWhorter two-level infinity pool is stunning.
As he developed SeaNest, Charlie also started and ran Little House Music and “really lucked up.” His songwriter Chris Tompkins penned “Before He Cheats.” Carrie Underwood recorded it and the song profitably rose to the tops of the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Adult Top 40 charts. Underwood and Tompkins brought home Grammy Awards.
Charlie sold the publishing company and paid off his home in SeaNest, which he affectionately calls the “Before He Cheats” house.
“It’s a story of place,” Charlie says, “a culmination of a great lucky run and a fun story, but I am moving on now.” Charlie has never released his grip on his Memphis roots. Currently, he is leading developments in a mid-town Memphis area called Cooper-Young. His regentrification efforts are paying off. The U.S. American Planning Association listed Cooper-Young as one of America’s ten greatest neighborhoods.
Though selling tickets, publishing music, and managing property may seem far apart, Charlie explains that his marketing plan is harmonious among the three. He sells “tribal gatherings in which people with shared interests can join together in a safe environment as a huge crowd.” He provides that experience wherever he invests. SeaNest is a place on the Gulf, but not just any place. Charlie considers it the best seat in the house.
Rita Montgomery has taken exceptional care of 30A homebuyers and investors for over eighteen years. She was born in Parker,
Florida. She’s raised five children and currently resides on 30A. Rita has been recognized multiple times for exceptional performance
as a top agent in the luxury real estate market and has superb working relationships with buyers and sellers up and down the coast. Contact Rita at 850.819.5749 or Rita@coastalluxury.com. Search available properties at www.coastalluxury.com.