Horizon Project Foundation hears from developers

Hank D'Antonio, part of the Ohio-based Pizzuti Cos. team, presents ideas for the redevelopment of the Horizon Project, a 20-acre tract of land near Joseph P. Riley Stadium. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
Hank D'Antonio, part of the Ohio-based Pizzuti Cos. team, presents ideas for the redevelopment of the Horizon Project, a 20-acre tract of land near Joseph P. Riley Stadium. (Photo/Leslie Burden)

By Lauren Ratcliffe
lratcliffe@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 30, 2013

Planning for the Horizon District took a step forward as the selection committee heard pitches from three companies competing for the job of master developer.

Last September, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley announced plans to redevelop the 20-acre tract of land near Joseph P. Riley Stadium. The city’s vision for the project was to develop the site as a mixed-use district with an emphasis on life sciences research, commercial spaces and residential units.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley listens to a presentation on the Horizon Project. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley listens to a presentation on the Horizon Project. (Photo/Leslie Burden)
Six companies submitted proposals to the Horizon Project Foundation and the selection committee created a shortlist of three after ranking them by their qualifications.

Gary Cooper, procurement director for the city of Charleston, said he did not expect the final selection of a master developer to be made for some time but that the three companies were the most qualified. The companies were assigned times to present before the committee at random.

The Pizzuti Cos., out of Columbus, Ohio, presented first and focused on other mixed-use developments across the nation. With limited specifics for the Horizon project, the members of the Pizzuti team stressed the evolving nature of the development and the use of partnerships to ultimately build out the site.

“This is not a simple project,” said Christopher Wrenn, director of the Orlando region for the Pizzuti Cos. “This is multi-phased and the creation of an entire new district of the peninsula.”

James Russell, vice president and COO of Pizzuti, said the selection committee should choose them because of their honesty and commitment to develop properties that serve as catalysts for growth.

“Our vision quite frankly is to help you create that platform for new development,” he said. “We need to tell you sometimes that your baby is ugly, or that you need to put lipstick on the pig. If we’re not open and honest, this isn’t going to be what you want.”

Hughes Development Corp., out of Greenville, presented second and focused on the strength of their partnerships and the people they bring into their team.

CEO Bob Hughes referenced the revitalization of downtown Greenville and the creation of the Next Innovation Building as examples of his vision for the Horizon District.

“This is about the next generation and the generation after that,” Hughes said. “We don’t know what they are going to be like.”

Hughes emphasized an array of local, international and specialized partners.

“A master developer is not the guy who does everything,” he said. “A master developer invites the other guys in.”

Gateway Development, out of Atlanta, was scheduled to make their case after lunch. According to their website, Gateway focuses on commercial, research and multiuse development in and around university campuses.

The meetings were scheduled to end around 3 p.m. today.

Previous coverage

Six companies submit proposals to develop Charleston’s Horizon Project

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