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Best of 2012: Real estate firms merge

Cora Bett Thomas and fellow broker Austin Hill announced early in 2012 they are merging their firms to form Cora Bett Thomas Austin Hill & Associates, Realtors.

The partnership comes in the wake of a turbulent 2011 for Thomas who was hospitalized with West Nile encephalitis for more than a month last fall and lost more than 15 agents in the interim. Additionally, her office property at the corner of Oglethorpe Avenue and Drayton Street went into foreclosure.

The merger with Hill’s Austin Hill Realty, a brokerage founded by Hill’s parents in 1978, will combine “old school with new blood.”

The rebirth will include the closing of Thomas’ Oglethorpe office and Hill’s Waters Avenue home.

Thomas had been leasing the Oglethorpe space from the bank since the foreclosure but is in the process of relocating staff and operations to the brokerage’s other two downtown offices at 16 E. Jones St. and 15 E. York St.

A top priority for the brokerage going forward will be rebuilding the Savannah team of residential agents.

—Business in Savannah

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