SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
Christopher Mohr, 77th Air Refueling Squadron operations officer, and his wife Bethany, were recognized by Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation as Indicator of the Year at the DGDC Annual Dinner and Awards, Sept. 23, 2016, for their ongoing work through their company, Blue Yonder Properties, in Downtown Goldsboro, North Carolina.
The award recognizes the indication of job and economic growth in the downtown area. Blue Yonder Properties specializes in the development and renovation of buildings within the historic section of Downtown Goldsboro.
“Being recognized by Downtown Goldsboro gives me encouragement that the city supports our vision for the improvement of Goldsboro,” said Mrs. Mohr. “They appreciate the sacrifice and perseverance that have been required by us to remain focused to accomplish this renovation. Throughout this past year, the city has been welcoming to the change we have presented and receptive to the challenges we have had to overcome. They are dedicated to the revitalization and long-term success of downtown and I am honored to have been a part of this process.”
The Mohrs began Blue Yonder Properties in 2015, prior to that the couple did residential development, working mostly with beach houses.
“We fell in love with Goldsboro when we first got here,” said Mohr. “We liked the downtown aspect, we loved the older buildings. They were all built within a 30-year time frame, so they all have the same look and feel to them. And we really liked the fact the Goldsboro is going out of its way to revitalize the downtown. We wanted to be a part of that and we thought that we could go ahead and put our stamp and make our mark on making this city the way it used to be back in the 1920s.”
The DGDC and the City of Goldsboro hired several companies in 2006 to create a master plan for the revival of the downtown area and the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Over the past decade, life was brought back into the area. The most obvious upgrade was the completion of the Center Street renovation on Nov. 2, 2015, which addressed functional, aesthetic, safety, scale and aging infrastructure.
“For quite some time, the John Street properties have been vacant and in disrepair, making the entrance into our downtown unappealing,” said Erin Fonseca, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation promotions coordinator. “It took an outsider’s perspective to see the potential, which Chris and Bethany Mohr are turning into reality. The Mohrs are not only putting down roots in the heart of the city, but creating five incredible apartments for other families, young professionals, retirees or individuals to do the same. We are excited to see a military family investing in downtown, along with two veterans opening a new business in the commercial space on the ground level. Continuous growth in our commercial core brings a need for more residential properties. Downtown Goldsboro will be home to 66 apartments once the current projects are complete.”
Mohr and his wife have been renovating three spaces on N. John Street for the past nine months. The top floors of the buildings are being renovated into five 930-950 square foot apartments and the main floor is under construction to become a 4,000 square foot brewery, Goldsboro Brew Works, which is owned by two veterans; Zak Fein and Carson Clark.
“We wanted to make our company a little different than other developers,” said Mohr. “A lot of developers will go in and they will put a facelift façade on a building and get it to the bare minimum rentable for people to go in there and use their properties. We wanted to go in and focus on the highest end quality finishes to really bring the space back to the feel of when the buildings were first created. We feel that’s kind of separated us down there and so far it’s generated a lot interest because of that.”
Mohr works as the developer and makes sure he’s knowledgeable with the building codes, and works with the space to figure out how to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ with construction and design. Mrs. Mohr handles the property management as well as the finances to make sure they are staying within budget on a project.
“It’s one of those jobs where we’ve had a lot of stressful times, but in the end we work together and come to a common goal,” said Mohr. “It’s been a lot of fun for us, it’s been great for the relationship, but with any kind of added stress you have to work together. With your partner you really have to understand the respect that’s involved in her part as well as your part and you’ve got to know at all times that if you’re working this hard she’s probably working twice as hard.”
According to Mohr, this is their first big project and the three building renovation is part of phase one of three. After completing this project, phase two will involve the Mohrs moving on to another building, followed by two more. Phase three is a five-year project for a building they are currently looking into. With a total of six small buildings and one larger building complete in the downtown area.
“The best part of the renovation process is just seeing the transformation,” said Mohr. “I love documenting it; having the before and after and all the stuff in between.”
Mohr adds that the coolest part is seeing the potential of an old decrepit building that others would miss and then seeing that potential to fruition. Restoring these classic buildings to their original states with a modern flare. Where others see demolition, he sees a challenge that results in a work of art.