Mouron inducted into Alabama Business Hall of Fame

Mike Mouron said his advice to younger generations is simple: Find a career you love.

Mouron graduated from Mountain Brook High School and then earned a degree in accounting from the University of Alabama. After several years as a CPA in Montgomery, Mouron began his career in real estate, which he says has always been an interest for him.

Mouron worked with his wife on home improvements and then purchased his first commercial property, which allowed him to leave accounting.

Decades later, Mouron’s love of real estate landed him inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. Mouron was inducted into the Class of 2022 in November.

“It’s obviously a huge honor,” Moron said.

Mouron began his foray into the student housing space as Director of Development at Montgomery Corporation. “Children’s flats,” as they were known at the time, were apartments designed for students or parents of students on or near university campuses. After examining financing, Mouron realized that apartments would be easier and wrote a letter outlining the possibility of changing student housing to make it a better investment for parents and a better opportunity for students.

He purchased a property near Athens, Georgia, which is home to the University of Georgia. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mouron was recruited back to Birmingham in 1985 to develop student housing for Polar BEK before setting up his own company Capstone Development in 1990. Since then, they’ve launched student housing in approximately 100 markets coast to coast.

“Capstone has a footprint all over the country,” Mouron said.

Working across the country has been fun, Mouron said.

“Campus is often a fun place to work,” Mouron said. “Often, college is a beautiful place.”

In 2012, at the age of 62, Mouron realized it was time to transform himself and Capstone. He split the company into four separate companies and put department heads in charge while he retired. A decade later, Mouron says all four companies are doing well.

While Mouron made a national impact through his business, he was also instrumental in the local development of Homewood, even after he officially “retired.” Mouron developed the Valley Hotel, Edgar’s, Little Donkey and Rodney Scott’s BBQ on 18th Street South. He also oversaw the renovation of Trustmark Bank on South 29th Avenue and the new Robertson Bank on South 18th Square, as well as CAPTRUST on South 27th Avenue.

In the future, Mouron will bring a new Italian restaurant, Luca, to the former Valley Mall location, alongside SouthPoint Bank and the new home of Hero Donuts.

Businesses that relocated after Mouron purchased the space nearly all stayed in Homewood, a place of great pride to him, as well as his relationships with city officials.

“When you get things right, they start to trust you,” Mouron said.

Mouron said he believes his work “makes Homewood a better place”. He said he’s heard from nearby business owners that the Valley Hotel has had a positive impact on their business.

Seeing several new businesses following the 18th Street renovation was “emotionally rewarding,” Mouron said.

“It’s job creation,” Mouron said.

The success of these businesses is proof that the city’s incentives are working, he said.

The hotel in particular attracts people from all over the world, leading them to spend money not only on hotels but also on food and retail, Mouron said.

In his hometown of Mount Brook, Mouron renovated and leased the space now occupied by Little Hardware. Growing up in Mount Brook has been a positive experience for him, he said.

“It’s a great place to grow up,” Murong said.

Mouron said he developed longstanding friendships during his time at Mountain Brook and the University of Alabama.

Mouron said he has seen a lot change in his decades in real estate. Real estate used to be developed by people who invested their own money and retained ownership, he said. Now, the source of funding is usually a third party, and the developer usually does not retain title. Mouron tries to preserve ownership as much as possible. He is a managing partner, owns one third of the hotel and is 50% owner of Robertson Bank and CAPTRUST. He owns Edgar’s, Rodney Scott’s and Little Donkey.

Mouron and his wife were recently honored with the William and Virginia Spencer Distinguished Philanthropist Award by the Alabama Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and they also serve as co-chairs of Rising Tide, a $1.5 billion UA fundraising.

This is an example of what Mouron hopes to continue to develop in the future.

“I’m going to keep trying to use my experience and my capital … to do good, whether it’s capitalist or philanthropic,” Muron said.

Good development in the future may be more difficult as land and capital costs are increasing everywhere. This may require cities to find more effective ways to incentivize development, he said.

“The development was very complex,” Mouron said. “It’s not easy to read. Cities need to try and be smart.”

Mouron admits that he has no hobbies, which makes it easy for him to continue doing work he loves.

“Luckily, I love what I do,” Mouron said. “It was intellectually challenging and put me in touch with a lot of people.

“I never intended to give up my job,” he said.

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