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People. Partnerships. Projects.

Creating next-generation real estate at the highest level.




Headshot of Ford Elliott
Ford Elliott

Ford Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of Contender Development and Chairman of Blackstream, is a veteran real estate developer and entrepreneur with over 17 years’ experience in development, construction, investment, business acquisitions, and running multiple successful businesses. At the heart of his business, Ford prioritizes people, partnerships, and projects.


Contender, is the Southeast’s premier real estate development firm headquartered in Greenville, SC with projects throughout North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. A development company focused on land development, hotels, and restaurants; Contender represents a combined experience of 50+ years.


In his mid-20’s, Ford Elliott had a vision for building a real estate company based on integrity, expertise, and exceptional client services. A licensed general contractor and real estate broker, he began with just three members on his team. That number has now grown to over 200 team members. He may have envisioned what his future would look like, but even he was amazed with the growth and prestige the firm has enjoyed in little over a decade in business – becoming one of the most elite real estate firms in the Carolinas. Ford credits this success to his team and to the simple principle of doing the right thing, day in and day out.


Since 2009, Blackstream, the real estate brokerage and property management firm, has grown to include five offices with $670 million in sales volume in 2021. Also in 2021, Blackstream’s partnership with Christie’s International Real Estate was so successful that Blackstream was named Christie’s International Real Estate Small Market Affiliate of the Year. In addition to these accomplishments, SVN | Blackstream finished as one of the Top 10 offices in the country among 220 offices worldwide. And, in his hometown of Greenville, SC, SVN | Blackstream was recently named Best in Business for Commercial Real Estate in 2022 by Greenville Business Magazine.


“Ford is partnership focused and driven. His partners and those relationships mean everything to him and you can see it in all aspects of his business and personal relationships. He knows that it takes great partnerships to build great companies and he has done that time and again in building Blackstream and our family of companies.” ~ Josh Howard, President of Contender Development, Inc. and SVP and General Counsel of Blackstream.


Part of Ford’s success is his ability to envision the possibilities for people, partnerships and projects. He saw opportunities and had the courage to bring on local and national partnerships that brought these opportunities to fruition. Now, with over $1 billion in active real estate development projects in 2022, Ford is one of the largest developers in the Carolinas. His projects include 35 residential communities, 6 Marriott hotels, 5 apartment developments, 3 storage facilities, 1 auto dealership and 17 restaurants. Through various entities, Ford and his partners own and control approximately 4,000 acres of land in the Southeast. In 17 years, Ford has completed a wide array of development, redevelopment, and acquisitions throughout his career.


Ford Elliott lives his values and passion in everything he does. His leadership begins with envisioning the best in the people and places his business touches. It builds with his accountability, flexibility, and dedication to innovation. Ford understands that intentional change can make a company powerful and responsive. He strongly believes in collaboration to bring his projects to fruition by choosing partnerships that share the same commitment to integrity and values that he puts forth in his businesses.


Most importantly, Ford enjoys being a husband to his wife, Hillary, and a father to their five children, Jolie, Wells, Crew, Lleyton and Carlen.


Congratulations, Ford Elliott, on being named one of the 50 Most Influential Recipients for 2022 by Greenville Business Magazine.


Original Article by Greenville Business Magazine.

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