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GenNext: Jessica L. Kelly Q&A

Jessica L. Kelly, 39

Broker and owner, Engel &Volkers Savannah

Kelly is a member of Private Office, an international society of top real estate advisors for luxury properties. She is a board member for the Humane Society of Greater Savannah and Special Olympics volunteer.

How will you do business differently this year or decade?

I just partnered with a European real estate company in August of 2016 – so I will certainly be doing business differently in the coming years, with a more global mindset. Despite the international reach I have through my new affiliation, I will focus on being a local market expert, super responsive and an excellent service provider.

What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to?

The real estate industry is in constant evolution and new tech tools are always on the horizon – video, paperless transactions, and other tech advances continue to help to streamline the whole real estate purchase process. A completely paperless real estate transaction would be amazing!

What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve or advance our local economy?

Historic preservation is essential, but also redevelopment and repurposing of our historic architecture into functioning and contributing places, especially in our neighborhoods outside of the Historic District. Preserving our cultural diversity and distinctive sense of place by designing places that consider history and the makeup of our city’s people should be paramount.

What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade? Why?

Real estate! By continuing to invest in vacant or blighted urban properties, we can make our city an even more impressive showplace for historic preservation, urbanism and community pride as a whole – it creates the “triple bottom line” principle of doing good community work — the financial, environmental and social successes come with this kind of development.

What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders?

Make urban planning a top priority, so that the city maintains its beauty and unique sense of place and history for generations!

What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

I have sold quite a few boarded-up, blighted properties that have been revitalized and transformed back into beautiful, functional households.

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