Watts Realty is a real estate and property management firm which traces its history to 1906 when W. A. Watts bought an interest in the Cement Block & Manufacturing Company and turned to the construction and management of rental houses. Watts Realty's offices are located in the Arlington Business Center at 1527 3rd Avenue South, Suite 102 in Southside.
After working as a Superintendent of Construction for Pratt Consolidated Coal Company, W. A. Watts sought an interest in construction and real estate through several companies. In 1906, he founded the Cement Block & Manufacturing Co.
In 1907, the Oliver-Watts Construction Company expanded its construction business to the purchasing and sale of properties. The Hillman-Watts Land Company of 1908 specialized in the buying, selling, dealing and owning of real estate. This lasted until 1918 when Mr. Hillman passed away and the resulting business became known as W. A. Watts, Realtor and then Watts Realty. In 1925, W. A. Watts helped organize the Birmingham Building and Loan Association, later federalized to become the Birmingham Federal Savings and Loan Association. W. A. Watts was a former President of the Birmingham Board of Realtors.
Bill Watts Jr joined his father at Watts Realty in 1946 after a five year tour of duty in World War II as an Air Force pilot. Bill Jr was a former President of the Birmingham Board of Realtors and former President of the Alabama Association of REALTORS. He also served as a National Director of the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Bill Watts Jr was recognized as Birmingham's 1963 Realtor of the Year, and as the winner of the 1986 President's Cup Award in Birmingham. The State Association named Bill Jr as Emeritus Realtor of the Year after serving for over 50 years in many capacities. His other charitable activities included former President of the Metropolitan Board of Directors of the YMCA, Birmingham, Chairman of the YMCA Birmingham Board of Trustees, former President of the Board of Directors of the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in North Carolina and its Chairman of Trustees. He was awarded the professional designation of Certified Property Manager (CPM®) from the Institute of Real Estate Management. Bill Jr's father passed away in 1956 and Bill Jr continued the firm until his retirement in 1997 for health reasons. He passed away in 2001. He was awarded Realtor Emeritus by the National Association of Realtors and was a member of the YMCA's Order of the Red Triangle.
In 1970, Bill Watts III joined the firm after graduating from Auburn University and an active duty tour with the U. S. Air Force. Bill III was awarded the national professional designations of Certified Property Manager (CPM) in 1976, Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) in 1982, and Certified Real Estate Broker Manager in 1993. During his 30 plus years with Watts Realty, Bill III served the Birmingham Association of Realtors and was its President in 1988. He also founded and resided as President of the Realtors Service Corporation and as President of the Birmingham Multiple Listing Service. Bill III was named the Commercial Member of the Year in 1989, Birmingham's 1990 Realtor of the Year, Alabama's 1991 Realtor of the Year and was awarded the Alabama Realtor's Robert Jemison Award in 1998. Bill is the second in the family to receive the Birmingham Association of Realtors President's Cup in 1998 and the Alabama Association of Realtors David D. Roberts, Sr. Award in 2008. He further served almost two decades as a trustee of the Alabama Realtors Political Action Committee and served as its Chairman in 2001. Bill has served as Regional Vice President of the Alabama Association of Realtors and was elected as an officer in 2003. He served as President of the Alabama Association of Realtors in 2006. Bill III's commercial specializations grew Watts Realty into the 6th largest commercial property management firm in 1999 according to the Birmingham Business Journal and expanded Watts Realty's services across the state of Alabama. Bill became Chairman of the Board of Watts Realty Co., Inc. in 2007. In June 2007, Alabama Governor Bob Riley appointed Bill to the Alabama Real Estate Commission representing the 6th Congressional District and, in fall of 2011, Bill was elected as the Chairman of the Alabama Real Estate Commission.
Bill III's extracurricular activities include former Chairman of the Board of Hargis Christian Retreat and Chair of the Diaconate and Mission Council Moderator of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Bill has also provided multiple terms of service as Chairman of the Board of Management of YMCA Birmingham Camp Cosby, member of the Board of Management of YMCA Birmingham Hargis Retreat, and as a member of the YMCA Birmingham Metropolitan Board of Directors. In addition, Bill serves as the Alabama Director on the YMCA Regional Blue Ridge Assembly Board of Directors in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Bill III's wife, Jan Watts, operated the newer firm, Watts Residential Sales, which was listed in 1999 as the 10th largest residential firm in Birmingham by the Birmingham Business Journal. Jan was also the third Watts to receive Birmingham's Realtor of the Year in 1999. In 2000, Watts Residential Sales affiliated with Coldwell Banker and in 2001 became Coldwell Banker Preferred Properties before being sold in November 2003. Jan received her Masters of Divinity at Beeson's College of Divinity at Samford University and currently serves as Minister of Music at Birmingham's First Christian Church.
W. A. Watts, IV known as "Chip", graduated from Auburn University in 1996. Chip utilized his Wildlife Science degree by serving as an Environmental Educator at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC before joining Watts Realty in 1998. Chip received his Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation in 2002 and his Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation in 2004. In late 2006, Chip became the fourth generation President of Watts Realty and began to enhance Watts Realty's services across the state of Alabama. Chip earned the prestigious Accredited Management Organization (AMO) status for Watts Realty from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). In 2008, Chip identified new opportunities for real estate management in the troubled assets/special assets market as the nation's economy began to falter. New management opportunities with banks and other entities holding troubled commercial or residential assets began to emerge across the state of Alabama and Chip launched programs to enhance Watts Realty's services to fill the management needs of such entities. Chip served as the 2008 President of the Alabama Chapter 43 of IREM and as well as the 2009 President of the Alabama CCIM Chapter. Chip served as IREM's Regional Vice President for Region 5 in 2011 and 2012, covering the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Chip served as the 2013 President of the Greater Alabama MLS and the 2014 President of the Birmingham Association of Realtors. Chip will be a Senior Vice President for IREM in 2015.
Chip dedicated extra time to the Birmingham YMCA Camp Cosby Board of Management, has served as its past Chairman and is a member of the Metropolitan Birmingham YMCA Finance Committee. Chip recently became a member of the Metropolitan Birmingham YMCA Board of Directors. Chip was honored by both YMCA Camp Cosby and the Metropolitan Birmingham YMCA as its 2007 Adult Volunteer of the Year and was honored by the Birmingham Association of Realtors as its 2008 REALTOR of the Year, the fourth Watts to receive such an honor. Chip was inducted into the YMCA's Order of the Red Triangle in April 2012.
In 2007, David Watts, joined Watts Realty. David graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Small Businesses Management. David quickly made a name for himself in the Real Estate industry with major renovation projects to commercial space in Historic Downtown Homewood and the Alabama Legal Services Building located in the CBD of Birmingham. David received his Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation in 2011 and currently serves as V.P. of Business Development on the Homewood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. David's charitable activities include Chairman for the Birmingham YMCA's Camp Cosby Strong Kids Campaign, raising money for underprivileged kids to go to camp. David was awarded the YMCA Camp Cosby Adult Volunteer of the Year in 2009.
The company is currently headed by W. A. "Bill" Watts, III as Chairman of the Board and W. A. "Chip" Watts, IV as President with David Watts as Vice President. The firm has been involved in marketing projects in downtown Birmingham since 1984, beginning with the Arlington Business Center. They were the selling company for the Leer Tower/Cabana Hotel/Thomas Jefferson Hotel which sold in August 2013.
- Morris, Phillip A. (1996) "Birmingham View | Through the Years in Photographs" Birmingham Historical Society
- Williams, Roy L. (June 17, 2007) "'Get a new grocery store downtown and watch out, Birmingham.'" The Birmingham News.
- Archibald, Alecia S. (August 10, 2008) "Birmingham Association of Realtors 2008 gold medal winners" The Birmingham News
- Tomberlin, Michael (May 5, 2009) "Old hotel crumbles as project collapses" The Birmingham News
- Bryan, Kim (May 28, 2009) "Renovations have begun on four buildings in Homewood that are slated to attract retail tenants" The Birmingham News
- Tomberlin, Michael (September 15, 2009) "1920s-era buildings fixed up, get tenants" The Birmingham News
- Commercial Real Estate Deals of the Year 2010 (March 26, 2010) "Self-funded downtown renovation brings a renaissance in Homewood" Birmingham Business Journal
- Tomberlin, Michael (February 13, 2011) "Renovation slow for prominent downtown Birmingham buildings" The Birmingham News
- Cooper, Lauren B. (March 31, 2011) "Watts set to begin downtown renovation project" Birmingham Business Journal
- McClean, Jean M. (May 16, 2011) "Tornado recovery: Realtors help survivors secure temporary housing" The Birmingham News
- Diel, Stan (July 14, 2011) "Downtown Birmingham's Leer Tower drawing interest" The Birmingham News
- Brumfield, Stephanie (September 2011) "Feels Like Home" Birmingham Magazine
- Tomberlin, Michael (November 11, 2011) "Aletheia House substance abuse program heading to new space" The Birmingham News
- Kent, Dawn (January 13, 2012) "Brothers behind Father Nature Landscapes have plans for eyesore off I-20" The Birmingham News
- Poe, Ryan (March 30, 2012) "Developers ready to play ball" Birmingham Business Journal
- YLife Magazine (May/June 2012) "Volunteer Exhibition|Saluting our 2011 Volunteers" YMCA of Greater Birmingham
- Williams, Roy L. (July 29, 2012) "Landscape company, auto service partner to bring new life to Irondale site" The Birmingham News
- Poe, Ryan (August 8, 2013) "Investors buy Thomas Jefferson Tower for $1M" Birmingham Business Journal