New COO of W.C. Bradley Co., Pace Halter, takes the lead on the Riverfront Place complex in downtown Columbus. With the 4-phase project underway, he is determined in creating the ultimate luxury living concept located right on the Chattahoochee.
Downtown is one of the fastest growing regions in Columbus, and with new local shops and restaurants emerging, it’s clear why. Not only is it the best place to grab a bite, downtown is home to one of the largest river walks in the south, right alongside the Chattahoochee River. With this fairly new amenity, there has become a greater demand for riverfront living.
The success of downtown’s expansion can be largely credited to the W.C. Bradley Co. With experienced staff, including their new COO, Pace Halter, W.C. Bradley CO. is undertaking the largest building project in downtown’s history. Riverfront Place will be a large, 4-phase complex complete with apartments, various amenities, and a public park. The best part? The whole complex overlooks Columbus’s greatest resource, the Chattahoochee Riverwalk. SVM sat down with Pace Halter to discuss the new complex and the appeal of downtown living.
Interview by JULIANA CALIGARIS
You’re the new President and COO of WC Bradley CO. You have a lot of real estate experience. What is your background in this field? I started doing real estate finances and construction lending for about 7 years. In 2001, I started my own company that I’ve run for the last 16 years. We did residential and commercial developments all around the southeast. We’ve done single family residential, multi family, mixed use retail offices, and pretty much everything besides high rise offices. I have had a huge amount of experience between the last 20 years.
You’ll be replacing Matt Swift on the Riverfront Project, can you explain what the project is and when it is expected to be completed? I was hired about a year and a half ago as a consultant to help specifically with the Eagle and Phoenix project. They had 13 unsold units, and I was brought in to help them revamp the sales and marketing strategy. Over an 18-month period, that relationship grew, ultimately leading to what is now Riverfront Place and creating a master plan for the Rapids. Matt called and announced that he planned to retire. They started the search for someone to fill his place, and I was interested.
Can you explain what the project is and when is it expected to be completed? For us, it’s a multi-phase, multi-year project. If you step back and look at the project as a whole, it will include two multifamily projects, the Rapids being the first of those. There will be an office component, ideally a hotel component and then a significant amount of retail--from small clothing stores and restaurants to a grocery store.
The Rapids itself will have both a restaurant and shop space. It is the first component of the project; containing 226 residences with restaurant properties overlooking the river walk. The beauty of the master plan is that all four of our buildings center around what we call Legacy Park. The public park will center around the components and directly connect to the Riverwalk. It is essentially a green space that is opened for the public. Our goal is to tie Uptown, Front Avenue, and Broadway to the Riverwalk.
What kinds of shops and restaurants can people expect to enjoy when the project is completed? We don’t have any tenants signed up yet. But ideally, it’ll be a healthy mix of national and local retailers and restaurateurs. Columbus has a young but growing restaurant scene that can be tapped into. My preference for the grocery store wouldn’t be a huge chain, because they wouldn’t fit in the space we have. It would be more ideal to have a smaller grocery store that has a boutique, market style.
How will the new Riverfront estate effect downtown Columbus? The short answer is that we hope it effects Columbus significantly. We at W.C. Bradley are in a fortunate position because we own a lot of real estate downtown. We don’t expect to be and know we can’t be the sole driver of the growth of downtown. Our hope is that our projects foster the development of that growth. Even in my short time here, I’ve seen a ton of movement in the properties downtown. We’re seeing more national retailers, such as Barberitos and Kilwins. Our hope is that our belief and commitment to downtown gives other companies the confidence to also invest in the area.
What other perks and amenities will residents get to enjoy when living in the Rapids apartment complex? There are two components to that question. I’ve mentioned Legacy Park, which is more of a public benefit but it benefits the project as a whole because it offers a gathering place, green space, and a place for fun activities. Whether you stop on your way to the river to get a drink, come for a movie in the park, or want to spend a day with your family in the park and get lunch, the park benefits the whole community and our local retailers. The Rapids will be very unique and exciting, because it’s a building whose design is unlike any other in Columbus.
The project will incorporate a significant outdoor component, with three elevated outdoor courtyards that sit in the center of the building. There will be a pool, outdoor fire pit, seating area, TVs, grilling areas, and much more. Overlooking that space, the inside club room will feature game tables, a computer center, and a fitness center.
Why do you think people are so drawn to the Riverwalk? What is unique about this location along the river walk is that, to my knowledge, it is the only undeveloped place in Uptown where you have the availability to go from Front Avenue to the river walk on the same elevation. We’ve designed the site to play off of that. You’ll be able to walk straight from Legacy Park onto the river walk. We’ve worked hard to enhance that, like adding a ton of outdoor seating to our restaurant that will overlook the water.
The Riverwalk is the biggest amenity in town. It has so many activities there, like the zip line and splash pad, where people are drawn to. We’re just trying to play off of that.
When will people be able to tour your apartments and where can someone with interest in purchasing an apartment in Riverfront get more information? Hopefully we’ll have our discovery center opened in a year. We’re about 20 months away from being able to move people into the apartments. Ideally, we will open about a year from now, but you can visit the website to see sample floor plans and look at the amenities we offer. In addition, we have a Facebook page that we update daily and you can register on our website to receive more information.
Finish this sentence. The best thing about Columbus is: Its future. I really believe this town is really well positioned for what I would call explosive growth. There is a lot that’s happening right now, from hotel developments to new restaurants and shops. It’s going to be fun to watch Columbus’s growth in the next 5 to 10 years. SVM