Chris and his star employee – “Daisy”


With 20+ years of real estate experience, Chris has worked in every facet of both residential and commercial real estate- from property management and marketing to business development, investment, and asset acquisition. Development isn’t just a profession for Chris… it’s in his blood – literally.  His ancestors arrived in Columbus in the late 1840s and have longstanding real estate development and entrepreneurial roots that reflect a love and commitment to the community. To date, his cumulative development, constructions, management, sales, leasing, investment is associated with over $175 million in developmental investments in the Columbus, Georgia region.

Chris is a developer, an entrepreneur, and a community advocate.  He has made a substantial impact in his hometown and region through development and community service and has been recognized as the 2017 Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, the 2014 Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce J.R. Allen Young Person of the Year Award and was awarded the 2013 Mayoral Service Award for Columbus, Georgia.  In 2014, Christopher was also recognized by Georgia Trend Magazine as the “Top 40 Under 40” – an award given to those recognized in the state’s business community as the best and brightest under the age of Forty.   

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Master in Real Estate Development from Auburn University, Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Clemson University.  He is a licensed Georgia Real Estate Sales Person and holds the Commercial Real Estate Industry’s coveted designation as a CCIM Member


In 2021, Martin Huff joined The Cotton Companies as a principal in the firm where he jointly oversees the company’s development pipeline, investments, and strategic partnerships.  A Columbus native, Martin spent 13 years in Spartanburg, SC where he served as the Director of Operations for Morning View Communities a manufactured home property management company. Prior to his roll at Morning View, Martin spent 9 years working for The Johnson Group a family office based in Spartanburg. While at the Johnson Group, he helped lead the self-storage team in its strategic efforts across the nation with over 60 + ground up developments. Previously at The Johnson Group he served as a business and financial analyst for American Credit Acceptance, a capital solution firm in the sub-prime auto finance industry. Martin also served as an intern for OTO Development in Operations during the summer of 2010 and winter of 2012. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Wofford College.

He is a community advocate, volunteer and leader.  While in South Carolina, Martin served on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations. He is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Spartanburg and in that same year accepted the Walter S. Montgomery Young Leader of the Year award.

Martin is actively involved in the Columbus community and others, serving on the Board of Directors for Columbus Technical College and The Foundation Board for his alma mater Christchurch School in Christchurch, VA. You can find Martin and (Lilly) his yellow lab walking through downtown or in an adventurous outdoor setting. 

Martin & Lilly


Shelby Banta is a Development Associate at The Cotton Companies.  She received her Masters degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University while simultaneously pursuing a career in Urban Planning. Prior to working at Cotton Companies, Shelby worked as the Regional Community and Transportation Planner at the River Valley Regional Commission where she researched, created, and managed community enhancement projects throughout the Chattahoochee Valley. Throughout her career, Shelby was associated with raising and managing a regional bicycle and pedestrian planning initiative. She has extensive experience and love for fostering economic growth initiatives in cities throughout the region. Shelby joined the Cotton Companies team knowing she would be a part of creating more vibrant and connected places in her hometown.

Our Approach

At the Cotton Companies, we believe in collaboration and team synergy. From the start of every engagement, we host a meeting with the client and the architect to develop a deeper understanding of the client’s objectives and architect’s design vision. We then integrate the general contractor and other critical team members to ascertain how the project can most effectively be brought to fruition, while simultaneously accomplishing the client’s objectives. The Cotton Companies’ core principle is managing the development process for its client while also enhancing the client’s interests by creating value for projects in thoughtful ways.

The Cotton Companies
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    1230 Broadway, Suite 201
    Columbus, GA 31901

    P.O. Box 1601
    Columbus, GA 31902