Exclusive: Officials discuss Uptown Columbus developments - Part 1
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - From locally-owned restaurants and businesses to boutique event spaces and whitewater rafting — all within walking distance of the Chattahoochee River, Uptown Columbus continues to take strides toward progress and transformation.
This — all thanks to several people in Columbus who saw potential and invested in the once blighted part of the Fountain City. In a News Leader 9 exclusive, we talked with a few of these passionate idealists who are working on several projects right now that will continue to put Columbus higher on the map as a destination city, to live, work, visit and play.
“If we can develop a downtown that will attract a business to Columbus rather than Atlanta, Nashville or Chattanooga, then we will see growth,” said John Teeples, owner and developer of John Teeples Construction. “What we are doing now is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“You can breathe into Columbus, something we haven’t seen before,” said Christopher Woodruff, president of Cotton Companies.
“All of us are passionate about our individual projects, but we’re all happy and excited for one another because everything feeds off one another,” said Jason Gamache, owner of Gamache Properties.
“The investments in uptown - and it’s good for the community and we believe it’ll provide long-lasting economic benefits to our great city,” said Pace Halter, president and chief operating officer of W.C. Bradley Real Estate.
You may remember years ago, uptown Columbus, formerly known as downtown, was a part of the Fountain City most people avoided. But thanks to legacy donors and several passionate business owners and developers, that all quickly changed and they say this is just the start.
Halter is overseeing the largest real estate development in the history of Uptown Columbus: when completed, a more than $250 million investment. The mixed-use development includes approximately 1.1 million square feet located on the corner of 13th Street and Broadway — named Riverfront Place.
“It’s very rare in this process that you know on the front end going in what the outcome will be, more importantly who will occupy those spaces, both in the residence and in this case, the office building,” said Halter. “Every now and then, you’re fortunate enough to have a tenant involved as you go into a project and that is a very unique experience.”
In this case, Halter is referring to Synovus Financial Corporation, which will soon call Riverfront Place home. In addition, the last phase of the project includes a 226-unit multifamily residential community, but a development that the Fountain City as never seen before.
“The amenities in this building are going to include an elevated courtyard, a swimming pool, an outdoor hammock park, a 24-hour fitness center, a clubroom, and most importantly - we’ve actually included a set of private offices and board room area for those residents in today’s world that work from home,” Halter added.
Site work for Riverfront Place development began in October 2021 with a targeted completion date of early-to-mid 2024.
“I tell W.C. Bradley and some of these bigger guys that I just want the crumbles left over from their cookies,” said Jason Gamache.
Gamache, owner of Gamache Properties and P-TAP Automotive, is a Columbus native who has invested and spearheaded several Uptown projects. With a heart for small business owners, His most recent project joins the historic Rialto Theatre and a former Raymond Rowe property in the 1200 block of Broadway.
The plan is to soon announce a special tenant that will be homed in this revitalized Rialto building. Also taking advantage of basement and first floor space in the former Raymond Rowe headquarters, we’re told the options are endless: from retail, to dining, to entertainment. The second and third floors of this building will house 16 apartments with wrap-around balconies.
“It will be one combined space. It’s a passion project for myself,” Gamache said. “When everything comes to fruition and we can make that announcement, I think people will be excited. It will be something different for the streets of Broadway.”
This project started at the beginning of this year and is expected to be completed in the next eight months. The developer overseeing the design, John Teeple, says right now, a new courtyard between the new A.C. Hotel will be a gamechanger for pedestrians accessing Front Avenue to Broadway.
These projects are just two of several News Leader 9 is highlighting. Tune in Sunday to News Leader 9 at 11/10c for part two of this series.
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