Alabama Business Hall of Famer driven to build Birmingham

Mike Mouron
Mike Mouron

Today’s guest columnist is Mike Mouron.

I graduated from the University of Alabama in 1972 in Accounting and became a CPA.

Never did I dream when I moved back to Birmingham in 1985 that I would found Capstone Development in 1990 —and it would become a company that exceeded my wildest expectations.

When I retired from Capstone after more than 20 years, we had introduced a new business model for college student housing and developed about $3 billion in student housing communities both off and on college campuses all over America.

Upon retirement from Capstone in 2012, we successfully divided Capstone into four vibrant and growing companies—all headquartered in Birmingham.

After retirement, when I showed up at home to eat lunch with my wife, Kathy, for the second time she strongly suggested ‘we not make a regular habit of this.’

So I had to find something else to do.

I decided to expand upon my real estate expertise and experience.

Because of my love and confidence in our community I chose to work almost exclusively in the Greater Birmingham area.

I bought a vacant building in Mountain Brook, renovated the property, and then leased it to Little Hardware, a Mountain Brook staple.

Then we renovated the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Birmingham, a property that been vacant for fifteen years.

In 2021, I became Managing Partner in the Valley Hotel. This helped lead to several new food and beverage venues in Homewood like Edgar’s Bakery, Little Donkey, and Rodney Scott BBQ. These properties have been a catalyst in the transformation of the northern end of 18th Street into a more attractive and vibrant area.

We then restored the historic Birmingham Greyhound bus terminal, where the Freedom Riders once disembarked during the Civil Rights movement.

Because I strongly believe in increasing the opportunities related to ‘technology’ would be most beneficial to Greater Birmingham, I participated in the development of “Nextec’, a building that was originally the location of Edwards Chevrolet and most recently Sticks ‘n Stuff. This would not have been possible without the support of the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County.

I can imagine in the not-so-distant future that Birmingham could become a destination location for visitors interested in historical architecture and buildings.

I greatly enjoy working with people I like and respect, and I’m still learning something new every day.

Greater Birmingham has many experienced, talented, and motivated professionals who feel as I do that that the positive momentum currently felt in our community can be accelerated and expanded.

If the municipalities within the Greater Birmingham area invest the proper amount of due diligence to identify those who perform consistently at a high level and with untarnished integrity, great projects and opportunities will follow.

My wife, Kathy, and I are so fortunate that our three sons, their wives and eight grandchildren all live within three miles of us.

Given the natural beauty, the proximity to numerous recreational areas, and the variety of schools, I’m shocked Birmingham has not experienced greater growth.

Birmingham is too much of a well-kept secret.

The generosity of central Alabama is well-known.

It makes for a quality of life that if more people knew the facts they would come.

I have been a resident in the Greater Birmingham area for practically my entire life, and I do not remember a time that I was more optimistic as to the future of our community.

To maximize the inherent benefits of Greater Birmingham, however, we need to bring the ‘best and brightest’ together regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. I believe ‘a rising tide floats all boats’ so improved educational and economic opportunities within our community will benefit us all.

I used to travel a lot on commercial flights and I can’t tell you how many people I sat next to and they would tell me, when my company wanted to transfer me to Birmingham, I came ‘that’ close to leaving them. And now that I’m here, when they did try to transfer me, I did leave them.

Mike Mouron is a graduate of the University of Alabama and a CPA. In 1990, he founded Capstone Development Corporation and led it to its position of leadership within the student housing market niche until January 1, 2012, when the company was divided into four (4) separate but synergistic companies.  Mike remains involved with all the successive companies in a variety of roles, and is Chairman of CREI. In 2022, he was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

David Sher is the founder and publisher of ComebackTown.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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2 thoughts on “Alabama Business Hall of Famer driven to build Birmingham”

  1. Thank you , Mike, for your love and dedication to our community!
    I was hired in 1952 and mentored by William Engel, founder of the area’s largest commercial real estate -insurance-mortgage loan business. We built shopping centers and office buildings , etc. but he always reminded us: “don’t forget to pay your civic rent!” -a reminder to be a community leader for the growth and improvement of this area- beyond brick and mortar. You seem to get it, Mike! God speed.

  2. THANK YOU MIKE! You are a true example of how advancement of Birmingham can indeed happen, and happen very well. How many copies of you can we get.

    I especially noticed that you said Birmingham was a well kept secret. If that is what it takes to keep it from having an explosive population growth increase like so many awful other sites like Atlanta have experience, the so be it. Let the increase be gradual so it can be well planned and thoughtfully developed for growth. What you have been doing appears to be as thoughtful as such things should be.

    Sadly, I think that other aspect of Birmingham’s being a secret is to remember that it is not actually a ‘well kept secret’ but rather a broadly well known city, increasingly and regretfully wrongfully well known as a racist and criminal city. The secret sadly is that it is as good a city as it really has become, and it won’t go away and get out of the way.

    Keep going strong Mike, and continue to be a evermore shining example of how good a city Birmingham really is and getting betting. Help inspire more of our youth to follow your example.

    Of all of the many cites I know, Birmingham is potentially the best shining city in a valley, and yet it is surrounded by so many beautiful hills whose shine must be kept so its valleys can blossom brightly!

    Thank you!

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