Jerome Karam: Texas’ Father Of Renovation Is Actively Breathing New Life Into Under-Utilized And Abandoned Buildings

Business / Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Formerly a Friendswood attorney, Jerome Karam’s wits of seeing the potential of an abandoned building are unparalleled. The real estate developer continues to create a buzz in Texas through the completion of notable projects that leave plenty of folks dumbfounded. Through 28 years of zeal and passion, the real estate mogul has not only transformed old, abandoned estates into thriving real estates but also has breathed a new life to places affected by hurricanes and floods.


Born and raised in Texas, Karam founded the JMK5 Holdings Company that majors in revamping underutilized buildings affected by harsh climatic elements. One of the distinguished accomplishments of Karam and his companies is the acquisition and refurbishment of the old Mall of the Mainland. The Mall was officially closed in 2014 following several changes of owners. JMK5 acquired the building in 2015 and has turned it into a thriving leisure and renting space. The Karam’s World Gym is located in the building. Recently opened, the facility harbors plenty of top of the line equipment for training and exercises. Quite a number of classes are available at the facility including yoga, spin, and Zumba. Moreover, customers have free access to WiFi when training or working out in the facility. World Gym is also the home of World City CrossFit.


However, the main mission for Jerome’s acquisition of the Mall of the Mainland was to convert it into a huge and affordable storage facility with indoor climate. As of now, the mall harbors more than 600 storage units that are open to retail businesses, churches, and gyms. Furthermore, the rehabilitated building hosts the largest trampoline park in the US: the Altitude Trampoline Park. The park covers enough space to transcend an American football field and also includes a range of non-trampoline activities.


Jerome’s unique brand can be said to derive inspiration from his family and his wife’s family which have special interests in real estate. This has helped him chip in genius tips into his business considering that he has worked for several years as an attorney specializing in business and injury litigation. Evidently, from his experience as an attorney, he has acquired vital information about the operation of real estate businesses and markets.


The recent grand opening of Karam Lofts is worth mentioning. However, the magnificent building has a long story dating back in the 1940s when it was a furniture store. Few or none of the Lake Charles folks foresaw a brilliant future lying ahead of the deteriorating and abandoned Berdon-Campell building. However, this completely changed when Jerome Karam purchased the building in 2014. Having seen the building’s potential, Jerome’s endeavor to make lemonade from the building’s lemons finally bore fruits four years after purchasing the facility. Opened in 2018, Karam’s Loft consists of 11 executive apartments featuring original oak floors, granite countertops, exposed bricks and much more.


It’s worth noting that Jerome Karam was one of the 2018 recipients of the Sally B. Preservation Awards. The awards recognize superlative projects and craftspeople involving the restoration, enhancement, and preservation of historic buildings in Galveston County. Jerome was awarded for the rehabilitation of the Lester Davidson building. He purchased the empty building in 2014 and worked with an architect, David Watson, to transform the building into 5 luxury row-houses. It’s hard to believe that the renovated building was marred by termite damage, rotten wood and neglect four years prior to the opening of the luxury houses. With four years of hard work and capital investment, Jerome Karam breathed new life to the Galveston’s abandoned building.


Currently, Jerome and his JMK5 team are renovating upscale communities in the west end of Galveston, including Bayou Bend estates, Galveston Bay Club, and Dickson. Karam remains a great contributor to the well-being of his home state in Louisiana through his rehabilitation and philanthropic projects.


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