Mark Taylor, a former two-term lieutenant governor of Georgia, was born into an entrepreneurial family.
His late father Fred founded the Fred Taylor Co. in the 1960s “with $95 and a $2,300 loan from my grandfather,” Taylor says. Today, the company has a truck leasing company with 17 locations in two states and owns or manages 1.2 million square feet of warehousing space. “He built something up from nothing,” says Taylor of his father, who died in 2011. “He was just a tremendously successful businessman.”
It was somewhat out of character for the elder Taylor when, in 1994, he purchased a 3,200-acre tract of land called Chokee Farm, with a few partners and no intention of making money.
“I think the genesis of it was that he loved farms and wanted to acquire one for himself,” Taylor says. That love snowballed into a passion. Four years after the initial purchase, Taylor bought out his partners and began to expand the holding by buying adjacent tracts until the property measured more than 5,100 acres. “He threw a tremendous amount of personal time into creating it—or rather, recreating it, in his vision,” Taylor says.
Today, Chokee is a vast gentleman’s quail-hunting estate that has hosted a string of local and national political figures, including governors and U.S. attorneys general.
Taylor says his father made improvements to the land until his death; Taylor and his sister have since continued to update the property by building an elegant new lodge for guests, renovating other buildings, and continuously upgrading the land.
Now the family has decided to sell the property, listing it with Jon Kohler & Associates for $26 million.