The process to build a $52 million riverfront apartment complex in downtown Columbus took a crucial step when the W.C. Bradley Co. and the construction company applied for the initial building permit late last week.
The initial site preparation work will begin in the next couple of weeks and take about two or three months, said W.C. Bradley Co. Real Estate Division President Mat Swift said.
Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor building the complex, the first building on 7.5 acres W.C. Bradley Co. owns along the Chattahoochee River between the 13th Street and 14th Street Bridges west of Broadway. The area is being called Riverfront Place and will be developed with a mix of residential and commercial over an extended period.
“I wish I could snap my fingers and have it built in 30 days,” Swift said. “But I can’t.”
A groundbreaking for the building that will be called “The Rapids” will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday on the site just north of the 13th Street bridge.
W.C. Bradley Co. announced the largest real estate venture in its long history almost two months ago when it went public with the residential and retail complex on prime downtown real estate.
The process to build the 226 apartments, parking garage and retail space will be done in three phases, Swift said. The site preparation, grading and initial foundation work will be done in the first phase. Another permit will be pulled for the construction of the parking garage and ground floor commercial space. The final permit will be pulled for the construction of the 226 apartment units on top of the parking deck and retail space.
The initial permit indicated the first phase would cost $3 million, according to city records in the Department of Inspections and Codes.
“This will be done in stages, because there is no reason to pull all at one time,” Swift said. “This is to prep the site and get ready to bring in the heavy pilings that have to be put in place.”
That is normal with large projects, Inspections and Codes Director John Hudgison said.
“They are still trying to work out some things — like the size and layouts of the apartments — but they know where the building will sit and the weight of it so they can pull the permit and start the work,” Hudgison said.
The city has been holding meetings for months with W.C. Bradley Co. officials and the builders and architects, Hudgison said.
The entire project is scheduled to take two years, Swift said. It is scheduled to be completed early in 2019, with parts of the project finished late next year.
The reaction to the project has been positive since the announcement, Swift said.
“The excitement of what it is going to do for our riverfront and uptown has been the most general reaction,” Swift said. “We have had some people say, ‘When you get ready, let us know. We are ready to sign up.’ ”
The building has been approved by the Uptown Facade Board, but there must be additional approval for signs, lighting and other fixtures on the exterior.