COLUMBIA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TRANSFORMS EXISTING STRUCTURES INTO THRIVING PIECES OF REAL ESTATE
by JULIANNA BOWEN
Waco’s wildly popular HGTV duo may be a few hours down the road, but Texarkana is home to our very own team of “Fixer Uppers.” Columbia Property Management, located on Jefferson Avenue, provides services that extend beyond managing area rentals. Director of Operations Lee Medley explained, “I believe most people think of us as strictly a property management company, but in reality, property management is a small part of what we do. We primarily work on investing in and developing real estate. That puts us in the business of managing, but we don’t see that as the large part of our business.”
Transforming existing structures into thriving pieces of real estate improves our community both economically and aesthetically. Lee explained “I believe it isn’t just important, but imperative that we as a community prioritize re-purposing old properties over building new. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for new projects, or that we don’t participate in new projects—we absolutely do—but there is a greater value in not abandoning existing real estate. Leaving properties behind puts downward pressure on our community. One abandoned property leads to two. The positive in that is by simply investing in those areas again you can start pushing against that downward pressure. One reclaimed property leads to two as well.”
The Columbia team is best known for the vision and execution of transforming the formerly abandoned County Market building on Jefferson Avenue into a visually contemporary, active part of town. Marketing Director Sarah Duch reminisced about the former project, “It’s my favorite renovation because when I first moved to Texarkana, I remember the abandoned County Market being one of the first eyesores I saw driving around in my new town. I’ve always lived on the Arkansas side of Texarkana, and Jefferson Avenue was one of the first streets I learned in town. Watching that particular area go from having an abandoned warehouse to hosting a thriving business center has been an exciting transformation for me to be a part of. Those businesses would not be there if it weren’t for the vision of Columbia Property Management.”
This vision impacts our community now and for future generations. Lee elaborated, “I strongly believe there is an obligation for our cities and its developers to think about the impact they have not only on Texarkana today, but Texarkana tomorrow, as well. When our downtown was built, it was built with the future in mind. Those buildings were to be there and in service of our community for generations. In large part, we as a community—and really as a nation— don’t think in those terms any more, but the buildings we, as developers, create will be there long after we are. We have to think about that. We want to do things that add to our community and make life better for the people who live here. It’s a big picture view, and Texarkana needs that.”
Thankfully Texarkana is home to visionaries like Columbia Property Management who see potential beyond the face value of our town’s existing structures to create new purpose among our community. Lee shared, “Conner and I would likely say our favorite project is whatever we are currently working on. There is very little that is cookie cutter in what we do. Every project has its own set of challenges and that makes it exciting.”
Reviving our city’s buildings with structural face- lifts and new purpose improves life for us all. These exciting fixer-upper projects renew the community and promise to serve it well now and for generations to come.