Shops, apartments planned for tract next to Braves stadium

Ten years and one month after purchasing property next to State Mutual Stadium, Doc Kibler and his Northwest Georgia LLC are moving to build apartments, offices and a small shopping center on the tract.

Kibler has filed a request to rezone 15.79 acres of the 21-acre tract he owns on the northwest side of Braves Boulevard.

He’s asking for Urban Mixed Use zoning in place of Community Commercial.

If approved, plans call for 124 apartments on about six acres and fill the rest with an 11,700- square-foot restaurant, 36,000 square feet of retail space and a 40,000-square-foot medical office building.

The Rome-Floyd County Planning Commission will review the rezoning request at its Dec. 3 meeting.

Wright Ledbetter of Ledbetter Properties said Monday that the apartment complex proposed for the stadium location is the same one that Charles Williams REIC and he had wanted to put on a 9.16-acre tract off Riverside Parkway.

The apartments, and a restaurant on an adjacent parcel, would have been the first activity on Ledbetter’s proposed CityCenter development. The 80-plus-acre parcel split by Burwell Creek is owned by the city of Rome, but under option to the company.

“We were not able to make the economics work to make this multi-family project feasible on the city property, so we believe we have found what is the next best site,” Ledbetter said.

Charles Williams Jr. said some minor changes have been made to plans for the RiverPoint apartments, based on site characteristics.

The upscale apartments are being designed with an English Tudor look and would lease for an average in excess of $900 a month.

“Our lender, our market analysts and our appraisal team feel like this is a great alternate site,” Williams said.

Kibler said his proposed development is not much different from a plan his group put forward six years ago, except for the residential component. He said the timing is better now than in 2009 and the apartments will work well with the retail node.

He also sees the next-door State Mutual Stadium — with big crowds and lights on for almost 70 nights a year — as a positive amenity for the residential development.

“I don’t see that as a negative, it gives you the opportunity for some entertainment without having to get in you car and go anywhere for it,” Kibler said.

The layout of the apartments also would allow many of the residents to have a view of the Oosta- naula River. The common-area amenities, a swimming pool, patio and barbecue area, will be tucked inside the wings of the building.

“And this site is already tied into the trail system,” Williams said. “With the other site, we were going to be challenged to make that happen.”

Ledbetter said the recent campaign to oust incumbents from the Rome City Commission for supporting the Riverside Parkway property had nothing to do with the decision to relocate the development.

“At the end of the day, the decision was driven by economics,” Williams added.

Both said the Riverside Parkway site across from Ridge Ferry Park is going to be expensive to build on. In addition to the Burwell Creek wetlands, the property also contains a long-buried city dump.

“It’s got so many problems,” Ledbetter said. “But we continue to hope we can find the right balance of end-users and our costs to have some feasible redevelopment that will be an economic generator for our community.”

William’s upscale RiverPoint apartments to be ‘green’

This architectural rendering shows what the 124‐unit RiverPoint apartments off Braves Boulevard will look like. The project will be located on 6 acres and will have an estimated cost of $18 million to $19 million. Developer Charlie Williams said bids from prospective general contractors are due the first week of July. (Graphic Contributed – ArchitecturalIllustrations)

Months after announcing plans for an upscale apartment development adjacent to State Mutual Stadium, Rome real estate developer Charlie Williams now says the RiverPoint apartments will be Rome’s first “green” large housing project.

Williams is purchasing approximately 6 acres for the development from Northwest Ga. LLC.

Williams is working with the Southface Energy Institute to build the apartment complex to EarthCraft construction standards. EarthCraft standards deal with a broad range of sustainability issues including environmental performance, indoor air quality and construction longevity.

Williams said there are a limited number of contractors who are certified to build to EarthCraft standards and he is eager to see who actually submits bids to serve as the general contractor for the project.

He said he is anticipating at least two bids from firms in Atlanta and Chattanooga. The bids are due the first week in July.

Williams said the “green” aspect of construction would translate into utility savings for tenants.

He said he is planning 124 units in the development — 39 one-bedroom units, 55 two-bedroom units and 30 three-bedroom residences.

“The average rate will be $1,050 a month,” Williams said.

The amenities at RiverPoint will include a pool with cabana and bar, a gaming area, and a cyber care and fitness area.

The entire project, from acquisition of the property to construction, is estimated to cost between $18 million and $19 million.

Williams said he expects to break ground as early as September.

The apartments will be situated on the northwest corner of the property west of the baseball stadium, between the Braves Miracle Field and the retention ponds that separate the tract from the trail along the Oostanaula River. Williams said the apartments will have a direct link to the trail system.

Doc Kibler, a partner with Dee Yancey in Northwest Ga. LLC, which currently owns the entire parcel, said his firm will retain between 8 to 10 acres being marketed for mixed-use development including medical offices, restaurants and other retail uses.

Developers seeking tax break for apartments

Local developers of a proposed upscale apartment complex next to State Mutual Stadium are asking the city of Rome for financial assistance through tax allocation district status.

Wright Ledbetter and Charles Williams discussed the issue with the Rome Redevelopment Committee on Thursday, seeking a tax break of $3.6 million over 10 years to make the project financially feasible.

The project will be formally pitched to the independent Rome Redevelopment Agency, which is expected to make a formal recommendation to the city and county commissions. Approval from both commissions would be needed to make the project feasible, developers said. Under a TAD, a baseline for taxes on a property would be established before it is developed. As the development moves forward, taxes would increase incrementally and a portion of the annual increase would be returned to the developer over a specified number of years. “Our total costs that we project right now are $19.16 million. This results in a feasibility gap greater than $3.6 million,” Ledbetter said.

Under a TAD, a baseline or taxes on a property could be established before it is developed. As he development moves forward, taxes would increase incrementally and portion of the annual increase would be returned o the developer over a specified number of years.

“Our total costs that we project right now are 19.16 million. This results in a feasibility gap greater than $3.6 million,” Ledbetter said.

Williams said the apartments would provide a foundation for growth in the area surrounding State Mutual Stadium. He said the apartments, which would rent for an average of $1,050 a month, would be a “change maker” and “economic catalyst for that area.”

Doc Kibler, who along with Dee Yancey is selling the 6.29 acres to the developers, said the property was initially bought a decade ago.

Williams said if the TAD were approved he would hope to break ground in late December or January 2017.

In other news, the committee agreed to put out a new request for proposals for development of the 2.2-acre tract just to the north of the Courtyard by Marriott being built on West Third Street.

Rome businessman David Doss had hoped to build a condominium there, but his option for that property expired last December.

City Manager Sammy Rich said the request for proposals could be back by the end of the year.

Tax Break OK’d for Stadium Apartments

The Rome City Commission signed off Monday on a $3.3 million tax break that clears the way for a 124-unit upscale apartment complex next to State Mutual Stadium. Developer Wright Ledbetter Jr. said the RiverPoint complex would be built on 6.29 acres of a 15.8-acre tract, which will leave room for the stores and restaurants he expects to follow.

“In our view, this corridor has the greatest potential for growth in Rome and Floyd County,” he told the board. Commissioners voted 6 to 1 to allow tax allocation district financing for the project Ledbetter will do with Charles Williams as RiverView Partners. Under TAD financing, the increase in property tax that comes from development is funneled back into the project for a set period. Commissioner Wendy Davis was opposed, saying she likes the idea but wants more time to study the financial payback. It’s unclear if the apartments will generate $3.3 million in ntaxes during the 15 years it’s in effect, she noted. The Rome Redevelopment Committee studied the projections extensively and, with help from the tax appraiser’s office, estimate it will be between $2.4 million and $4.2 million. The extra money would come only from other tax revenue collected within the designated district. If collections fall short, the full amount would not be paid to the developers. The majority of the board said the project deserves backing because the apartments will act as a catalyst for other development in the area. “It’s a tool for us,” City Manager Sammy Rich said. “That many residents will attract retail growth.” Voting in favor of the TAD were Commissioners Bill Collins, Milton Slack, Sundai Stevenson, Sue Lee, Craig McDaniel and Evie McNiece. Commissioner Bill Irmscher abstained, saying he has a financial interest in some property near the stadium.

Ledbetter said he expects the apartments — which will rent for an average of $1,050 a month — to draw another $6 million to $20 million in investment within two or three years. The Floyd County Commission also has to sign off on its share of the TAD financing. A vote is scheduled for the board’s Nov. 8 meeting. Also on Monday, the City Commission approved increases in rental fees at the Rome Civic Center and City Auditorium for 2017. The Civic Center will cost $750 during the week and $825 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. City Auditorium will rent for $1,200 for commercial events and $550 for local nonprofit

New Apartments Expected To Spur Economic Growth

Real estate developers at Charles Williams REIC and R.H. Ledbetter Properties are gambling big on their hometown.

Brothers Charlie Williams and Gardner Williams are confident the new RiverPoint Apartment Homes development on Braves Boulevard will pay big dividends for the community.

And the Williams’ partnership with Ledbetter Properties — known as Rome Riverview Partners — believes those dividends will help the community before pushing up their bottom line.

Charlie Williams thinks the $19 million, 124-unit luxury apartment community will serve as a catalyst for additional mixed-use development near State Mutual Stadium. Bob Ledbetter Jr. said the influx of 124 new families alone creates a “captive audience” for potential businesses around the stadium and apartment area.

“I do, too, for a lot of reasons, particularly from a real estate perspective,” said Rome City Manager Sammy Rich. “It will provide on-site residents that are going to demand and consume services.”

Other plans for the area — which include property owned by Northwest Ga. LLC, Doc Kibler and Dee Yancey — call for office, retail and restaurant use between the apartments and the bypass.

Kibler and Yancey retained a 2-acre tract between the apartment site and the stadium, which has tentatively been penciled in as a potential restaurant site. They held on to approximately 6 acres, earmarked for mixed-use office/commercial/retail space, that front the bypass.

The property has already been rezoned for urban-mixed use.

“Before we even closed with Charlie we started getting some interest,” Kibler said. “We’ve got one we are trying to get under contract before the end of the month. We are in discussions with two others, and a third is showing a fair amount of interest.”

Ledbetter said he’s aware there are some discussions with potential businesses for the area but was not aware of anything specific.

“I think Steve Irmscher’s Line-X (under construction next to Bella Roma restaurant) is at least a little bit of evidence that we’re seeing additional activity.” Ledbetter said. “You know nothing in the development world happens in a hurry, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Williams believes the luxury apartments, designed to EarthCraft environmental standards, will be an attraction for residents with an annual household income in the $80,000 to $100,000 and higher range. He believes many, if not most of the residents, will be new to Rome.

“I hope we see a net influx of new residents,” Rich said.

Gardner Williams said that more than 50 percent of the people who moved into the Eastland Court apartments came in from out of town.

“They were asking questions about the amenities, they wanted something more and were willing to pay for it,” Charlie Williams said.

He also pointed to the redevelopment of loft apartments in the downtown district as evidence of people willing to pay upwards of $1,000 or more for rent.

“We think this is going to be a classic live/work/play community,” Charlie Williams said.

The property adjacent to the stadium, he says, is a much better site than the CityCenter property off Burwell Creek where the apartments were originally slated to be built.

“You’ve got the trail system and river right there,” Charlie Williams said.

“And where else can you live this close to the downtown part of the city and watch a bald eagle fly.”

Contractors working on storm water infrastructure Thursday watched as a bald eagle was hunting fish in the retention pond between the apartment construction site and the trail that goes around the stadium.

The project is going to take advantage River-Point’s location in an existing tax allocation district to help them offset the cost of the project.

When a TAD is created, a baseline for property taxes within the designated area is established. As a project develops and property taxes increase, a portion of the increased taxes is returned to the developers to help offset expenses.

Rome and Floyd County agreed to a $3.3 million, 15-year TAD plan for the developers, who will receive $220,000 a year for 15 years. The city and county will realize the full value of taxes on the property when the TAD expires.

Williams told government leaders that developers did not expect to see a return on their investment for at least 10 years.

So long as the district is still in place, future projects set for that area will also receive TAD financing benefits, if developers ask for it. Rich said there is no set number of TAD plans that the city can approve.

“If it is in the TAD, then it’s up for consideration but it has to stand alone,” Rich said.

“If not for TAD would we be looking at any development? I feel very strongly that this (apartment development) could lead to additional development at this site.”

Ledbetter said residents of Rome and Floyd County have made a $50 million investment in the Armuchee Connector, State Mutual Stadium, Rome Tennis Center at Berry College, Riverside Parkway and the bypass. And it was time the community got a return on that investment, he said.

— Doug Walker

Upscale RiverPoint Apartments Scheduled For Completion In February Next To Stadium

Months after grading work started, partners in the 124‐unit RiverPoint Apartment Homes development adjacent to State Mutual Stadium held a formal groundbreaking Thursday. Charles Williams Jr. told a crowd of city and county government officials and local business leaders he anticipates the upscale, eco‐friendly apartment complex will be completed by Feb. 1, 2018. “We already have four leases,” Williams told a crowd of about 50. “We’re already getting a lot of inquiries and we haven’t really started our marketing effort yet. We hope to have a website up and running within a week or two.” Williams said three‐bedroom units on upper levels of the four‐story apartment buildings are generating the most interest

John Quinlivan, Rome Floyd Chamber board chairman, told onlookers that the apartments will fill a need for housing, particularly apartment housing, in Rome. “We have 36 resident physicians‐in‐training here for four years at a time and this kind of housing would be perfect for them,” he said. Williams saluted city and county officials for helping develop a tax allocation district financing package to offset the project’s cost. “We wouldn’t be standing here today if it weren’t for the public‐private partnership with the city and county,” he said. “We have worked on this for a very long time,” said City Commissioner Evie McNiece. “And we’re so excited about what’s going to happen here.” The TAD package calls for the developers to receive $220,000 a year for 15 years — a total of $3.3 million. The money comes from the incremental increase in property tax values on the property. Williams said Spriggs Construction Co. has gotten a million‐dollar contract for infrastructure work at the site. Williams pledged that the general contractor, Marietta‐based TuckerCraft Inc., would use as many local subcontractors as possible during the construction phase.

— Doug Walker

CWREIC Celebrates 50 Years!

Charles Williams Real Estate Investment Corporation opened its doors in 1968 as its founder, Charles S. Williams, Sr., had a vision to develop a range of different types of multi-family housing products throughout the Southeast. During these early years the company specialized in developing and operating affordable and market rate housing.  With the growth that ensued the corporate headquarters was formed in Rome, Georgia.

This year the company proudly celebrates 50 years in business as a second generation family owned business with sons, Charles Williams, Jr. and Gardner Williams at the helm.

The Corporate Office, known as Winthrop Corporate Square is located in historic downtown Rome on East 6th Avenue.