To the editor:
My family and I have undertaken substantial development in and around the recently dedicated Automobile Alley Historic District ie. St. Louis St. in downtown Mobile. We have been hailed as innovators and with assisting with the movement forward of the resurgence of this jewel of Mobile. However, the true innovators of the resurgence of St. Louis St. were Mark Reed and Jim Mattei who began their work on the street in the 1980s from their offices in DeTonti Square which in those days was crime ridden with buildings vacant and deteriorating throughout.
Mark was my friend and real estate partner since our moving to Mobile in 1986 and he was a true jewel of a human. No matter the length of time or the circumstances, when you made a deal with Mark, that was the deal. Never did he waiver from his word, or from doing the right thing. He grew up in his mother fathers grocery store in Prichard and attended UMS Military School before the ladies arrived. Mark was a fabulous attorney, founded a title company and built high rise condominiums, to the restoration of the Admiral Semmes Hotel and One St. Louis St. (the fabulous 35 year old restoration at the foot of St. Louis at Water St.).
In the late 1980s, Mark and Jim, the forever intrepid entrepreneurs, renovated a couple of Wendy’s restaurants, had to take them over and operate them for a few months before being able to sell them. They determined that a high percentage of the sales came through the drive-up window causing them to calculate that an exclusive drive-through hamburger restaurant might be profitable. They then founded and built Checker’s right here in Mobile; operating it for a number of years before going public and selling their shares. In recent decades, Mark has lived in Daphne with his wife Jan and his children have flourished in their various endeavors.
Mark was responsible for the development and sale of thousands of condominiums and thousands of acres of land in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Ft. Morgan, and throughout Mobile and Baldwin County. He was active and developing new ideas through the day he passed. Mark, unfortunately passed yesterday working out on his treadmill at his home. He had no symptoms and had a complete medical work up just three weeks ago. We will miss this pioneer, friend, developer, father and dedicated husband.
Rest in Peace Mark. God Bless
Robert J. (Bob) Isakson Sr.
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