For a man whose family fortune came from storefronts, Robin Loudermilk is a really reluctant retailer.
“The reality is I was never truly in love with the rent-to-own business. The reality is my true love was real estate. I knew it. I really loved real estate,” Loudermilk told Bisnow from his office at One Buckhead Plaza. And from his window, the entirety of Buckhead Village's growing skyline stands before him.
The Loudermilk family is one of Atlanta's business dynasties. Patriarch Charlie Loudermilk founded Aaron Rents in 1955 with $500. Today, the company operates more than 1,800 company-owned and franchise rent-to-own stores in the U.S and Canada and earned more than $139M in profits on more than $3.2B in revenues, according to its 2016 annual report.
Both Robin and Charlie Loudermilk left the company in 2012, a move that led to Robin dedicating himself full time to commercial real estate, mainly focused on the two markets he knows best: Buckhead and Midtown Atlanta.
Loudermilk's real estate story begins even before then. On Sept. 11, 2001, Loudermilk said he saw his family fortune take a big hit — along with the greater stock market — following the terrorist attacks. While their net worth recovered, and then some, Loudermilk said that was a wake-up call to diversify the family holdings out of Aaron's Inc. stock.
The main thrust of that real estate effort was focused on Buckhead Village, then a string of nightclubs and rowdy nights that locals were coming to hate. Loudermilk stepped in just after the infamous double homicide there in which former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was charged with murder. While Lewis eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction and continued his NFL career, the damage was done to Buckhead Village's party scene, and the effect was almost instantaneous.
Loudermilk was among those who began to buy up the real estate that housed many of the nightclubs and forced them to shut down. Despite some economic setbacks, today Buckhead Village is capped by OliverMcMillan's Buckhead Atlanta. And Loudermilk Cos. owns many neighboring properties — including the former Aaron's Rents headquarters, which has since been transformed into a boutique office.
He also has a luxury condominium project underway in Buckhead called The Charles, a 57-unit project that has 18 pre-sold units averaging $1.8M. The project is noteworthy because while apartments are booming, few projects are for-sale condos in Atlanta right now. But Loudermilk has some experience in condos, having co-developed The Spire, Viewpoint during the mid-2000's Atlanta condo boom that did not end well for many investors, and most recently Seventh Midtown.
Loudermilk recently sold a vast majority of the company's Midtown retail holdings for $46M, or $500/SF. While not among the 100 richest real estate titans in the U.S., Loudermilk estimates his family's net worth to be $750M, he estimated, ranking him among the city's richest real estate tycoons. — Jarred Schenke
Next Richest in Real Estate