Waddell Realty is launching a $3 million-plus project this holiday season that will serve the Columbus real-estate company for years to come.
Crews have already been pushing dirt on a three-acre piece of ground at 5547 Veterans Parkway. That’s the site for a nearly 18,000-square-foot, two-story office building that will serve as the headquarters for Waddell, while offering some space for lease to tenants connected to real-estate transactions.
“This is where I’m going to retire,” joked Reynolds Bickerstaff, a managing partner with Waddell Realty and its chief experience officer, or CXO. Columbus real-estate veteran Allen Parham also is a partner and managing broker. “The vision Allen and I have is we don’t want to be the biggest, we just want to be the best.”
The timeline for the company’s move into the new structure is October, Bickerstaff said. The lease for the existing office space the firm has called home for about 15 years is up at the end of 2016.
The current office at 1 Bradley Park Court, tucked away somewhat off Bradley Park Drive, is only slightly more than a mile from where the new one will be, adjacent to Virginia College, and much more visible to a heavy stream of commuters driving past it each day.
Waddell has 50 residential agents, four commercial agents, and 15 employees in its property management department, and a handful of sales support staff. Bickerstaff said the new space will accommodate them all, but isn’t much larger than the existing office. It simply has a more efficient, modern layout.
Another element it will have is about 2,000 square feet of space on the ground floor that will be reserved for services affiliated with Waddell’s real-estate operation. That means room for an attorney, a lender and possibly an insurance agent.
“They’ll be leasing a smaller office, but have access to a very large café, lounge, receptionist, training room. That’s space they normally have to pay for individually, but they rarely use,” Bickerstaff said. “How many offices do you go in now — offices that are under 2,000 square feet — and they don’t even have a receptionist? It’s similar to what Regis does up in Atlanta and around the country with flex space, where you’re leasing an office, but you go use a conference room when you need it.”
Waddell Realty’s new office building also is expected to help it compete with other real-estate firm’s in the market. Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Davis Realtors, an affiliate of Coldwell Banker, is the largest company locally by far, closing 1,749 residential transactions in 2014, with a total sales volume of $293.2 million, according to RISMedia’s 27th annual Power Broker Report.
Waddell typically battles back and forth with Keller Williams Realty for the second spot in market share. Other major players include Rose Anne Erickson Realty, Solid Source Premier Realty, Flournoy & Calhoun Realtors and Re/Max Prime Realty.
That crowded real-estate playing field quantifies the need for making the current move to the new office building by Waddell Realty, Bickerstaff conceded.
“When we’re in the office, we want something that is supportive of our image in the community and our agents’ success,” he said. “When clients do come in, they’ll know that they’re working with the best agent in this market.”
Waddell Realty also has satellite offices in downtown Columbus and in Pine Mountain, Ga., Bickerstaff said, with both of those spots to remain active in the future for agents working out of them.
The new office building was designed by 2WR Architects in Columbus, while the construction company for the project is River City Contracting of Columbus.