If you’re out for an early morning walk or jog through the streets of Savannah, you may just bump into Chip Colley.
“Every morning when I get up, I go walking and I just love walking past all the beauty and history,” Colley said. “Just seeing the moss and the trees ... I walk here, and think ‘There are people who go on vacation here, and this is where I live!’”
Colley moved to Savannah a few years ago from New York City to be closer to his mother and to also enjoy a different pace of life. He joined the City of Savannah’s Real Estate Services department as a real estate specialist in 2018.
“It was nice coming here after doing residential real estate,” he said. “My clients were wonderful and I loved them, but this was an opportunity to really get involved and learn about commercial real estates, which has been fantastic.”
Colley is Connect Savannah’s Best City of Savannah Employee for 2020.
“I just really enjoy doing what I do,” he said. “I love real estate. A lot of times, people come to the city looking for answers, and being able to actively help them and find what they’re looking for is a great feeling.”
It’s not usually top of mind for most people as they make their way through the city, but there’s a lot of upkeep and maintenance needed to keep some of the most loved buildings running – everything from City Hall to Bonaventure Cemetery, both of which the Real Estate Services department oversees. One of the first projects Colley worked on with Savannah was the sale of the former Broughton Municipal Building at the corner of Broughton and Abercorn. The property itself has a rich history dating back to the 1700s, while the building as it stands today opened in 1961 and was first acquired by the city in 1991 to convert into municipal space. It will now soon take on its new life as a hotel and restaurant space.
Real estate sales have slowed down in 2020 due to the pandemic, but Colley stays busy overseeing building and property maintenance, a part of the job he takes great pride in.
“I just want the city of Savannah to present itself as well as possible to the people who live here, work here and visit here,” he said.
“I love this job. I really enjoy coming to this job every day. I love what I do.”
Outside of work, he’s the president of his neighborhood’s homeowner’s association, and also serves on the board of directors of First City Pride Center, an organization actively working to meet the needs for safety, empowerment, education and wellbeing of Greater Savannah’s LGBTQIA+ community.
“I just love the whole vibe of Savannah ... and the food,” he said, laughing. “There’s so much good food here, which is why I have to go walking in the mornings!
“I also love the fact that I can get in the car and be at the beach in 25 minutes. Even though I loved NYC, no one goes to the beach there. Savannah’s a very chill town.”
Runner-up: Sean Brandon