downtown development

Developer Michael Kaufman stands in the second floor of 1612 Newcastle Street.

Michael Kaufman, owner of three buildings in Brunswick where business professionals rent office space, doesn’t mind losing tenants if it’s for the right reason.

Robin Cragin is one of those former tenants who occupied office space at The Wick on Newcastle Street when she started her new business, Familiar Finds.

She was there less than 18 months when she told Kaufman she had to move to a new location because her business had outgrown the office she was leasing.

“I don’t think I could have started a new business at any other place,” she said. “The Wick was perfect for me.”

Cragin said she was uncertain how her business would be received in the Golden Isles. She described it as a “spiritual, new-age store” that sells candles, incense, books and other merchandise.

“I wasn’t sure how a business like that would be received in Georgia,” she said. “My office was the farthest from the door at The Wick, and people still came to find me.”

Kaufman said the demand by professionals such as accountants, financial planners, lawyers and entrepreneurs for his office space remains high. He said he is happy when a tenant becomes so successful that he or she has to move into a larger building. The intent of the business is to help entrepreneurs get started.

Kaufman recently lost another tenant, Hasherlon Taylor, after her hair extension business She Hasz Heart grew so much in six months she had to relocate. She now occupies a space in the Zell Building on Gloucester Street next to So Glo Guitar Gallery.

Kaufman said Taylor is a great example of a success story after getting a start in one of his office spaces. Taylor had to break her lease to move, but Kaufman said he only charged her for the time her old office was vacant, which was about a month.

“At the end of the day, a new tenant moved in,” he said. “It’s all growth.”

Kaufman said he never expected the demand for office space downtown would be so high that he’d open three locations.

“Quite the contrary,” he said. “We were concerned about renting space in that one building. It shows there’s still a demand.”

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