Steve Johnson of Johnson Commercial Development is involved in the development of a unique and massive mixed-use property that will eventually occupy space in two states — Tennessee and Virginia — and cover 500 acres. In today’s Four on Friday, we chat with Steve about that project, known as The Pinnacle, as well as the similarities between his athletic and real estate careers and his idea of the perfect day.

Many thanks to Steve for his time.

Steve JohnsonHS: Tell us about your company: when was it created, and what is the scope of services that it provides?

Johnson: Johnson Commercial Development is a full-service real estate development and management company based in Bristol, Va. We have built a successful business based on superior relationships with our clients and demanding excellence from our development team.

Over the past 15 years, Johnson Commercial Development has developed more than 50 retail properties, with a total gross leasable area of more than 3 million square feet, making us one of the region’s leading and most experienced retail development companies.

HS: Your company, together with Oldacre McDonald, is currently developing a unique project, one that will occupy space across two states. Tell us about The Pinnacle.

Johnson: The Pinnacle is designed to take advantage of the strength of the Tri-Cities, Tenn., area and surrounding markets. Bass Pro Shops, Belk, a 12-screen theater, and lots of junior anchors, lifestyle tenants and restaurants will make up The Pinnacle's first phase, with another 250 acres of expansion into Virginia in the future.

Bass Pro will open in the summer of 2014, and the Belk-anchored center opens in the spring of 2015. There will be no stone unturned in regards to tenant mix, architecture, landscape, streetscape, lighting and signage to ensure that this project will be the crown jewel of this region for many generations. 

HS: We understand that you played tight end at Virginia Tech, had a short pro career and then spent some time driving race cars. How did you end up in commercial real estate, as that is a far cry from those endeavors?

Johnson: My athletic background and my occupation are actually a lot more similar than you think. Sports and business are the same in that each requires the establishment of goals; a clear marking of roles within a team environment so that each person knows his or her job; a high degree of production, which requires tremendous work ethic and passion for what you are doing; and, maybe most important of all, persistence. Especially in this business, you can’t take “no” for an answer.

HS: What's your idea of the perfect day (that we can print)?

Johnson: The perfect day? Hmm — that's a tough one. It would involve time with my family mixed with a bit of work, maybe with a little golf, fishing or boating topped off with a fun dinner with friends with plenty of Cabernet flowing and a nice Hokie win.