2018-08-29 / Front Page

Local investorsmake big changes downtown

Staircase to loft in Goldberg building Staircase to loft in Goldberg building Downtown Waynesboro has seen a lot of changes in the last few years as revitalization efforts have changed the esthetics, local businesses have flourished and residents have begun to shop locally. The vision for keeping Waynesboro not only alive, but thriving has become contagious. The appeal of our small town and its residents are causing folks from far and near to relocate to our quaint piece of Georgia soil.

Chris Gibbie and Tim Mashburn are investors who have not only caught the vision for Waynesboro but have big plans to ramp that vision up a few notches. Their recent investments in downtown real estate through their company, Halsey Dean, have inspired a ground-breaking plan that is about to set downtown on its proverbial ear. They are planning not only renovated retail spaces, but are well on the way to creating upscale residential rentals there also. Says Gibbie, “We have received enthusiastic support from the Downtown Development Authority, the historical committee and the City of Waynesboro. We look forward to working with them on our projects.”

Chris Gibbie, left and Tim Mashburn, right, in the Goldberg building loft Chris Gibbie, left and Tim Mashburn, right, in the Goldberg building loft A little over five years ago Gibbie, an antiques dealer of 32 years, and his partner, Tim Mashburn, who worked for many years at the Federal Reserve Bank and IBM before getting into the investment business, came to an estate sale at a home in Waynesboro. Not only did they purchase items at the sale, they fell in love with our town and ended up purchasing the house as well. They’ve lived here happily for the past five years.

Although Gibbie has lived in and done several residential and commercial renovations of older buildings in Sandersville, Georgia, living here has helped motivate him to once again take on several projects. Enjoying a slower paced small town life, as well as making friends with local residents and downtown business owners, has given the pair a chance to really see the hidden treasures lining the streets of the town. Appreciating the efforts the city was making toward revitalizing downtown, and spending time admiring old buildings here, the pair decided to feed a passion they’ve been successful at bringing to fruition in the past; buying and renovating old buildings. With the invaluable help of Southern Bank, their first purchase was the old Goldberg’s Furniture store building on 6th Street near its intersection with Liberty Street. According to Gibbie, “Not only was Ralph Dickey and the whole team at Southern Bank instrumental in helping us, but Jerry Coalson with the City and the Don Lively at the Downtown Development Authority have all been on board with us from the beginning. They’ve been great supporters of what we are doing.”

When it was time to find a long-term tenant for the building the investment team had to look no further than Gibbie’s contacts in the antiques world. For years Gibbie has participated in a large and renowned event in Texas; the Roundtop Antiques Fair where he is a featured vendor. When thinking about an ideal tenant for the retail space at the old storefront, Gibbie instantly knew his friends and fellow Roundtop participants, Rob and Jennifer Green would be perfect tenants. After excitedly pitching the idea to the Greens, the couple bought in to the idea. Soon the Greens permanently relocated here from Texas and opened the eclectic d├ęcor shop, Vintage on 6th there. All parties involved in that portion of Gibbie and Mashburn’s vision couldn’t be happier with what has been the perfect fit from the get go.

Having had no residential rental space in the heart of downtown since the early 1970’s the second phase of their vision has become a ground-breaking concept. With a second floor on the Goldberg building it only made sense to the investors to create a loft. Major renovations on the space are currently in progress. Sporting a progressive industrial feel with exposed beams, exposed conduit electrical wiring, rustic-style distressed planking on some of the walls, exposed original brick and lots of large windows for natural light, the loft boasts a huge open concept living space of approximately 3,200 square feet. A two bedroom, two bath behemoth with a huge kitchen, ample master bath and master walk-in closet the size of a small bedroom has a projected completion date of October 2018. A tenant has already been secured for the space.

Through Halsey Dean the investors also purchased the old Jones building on Liberty Street, which is located just around the corner from Vintage on 6th. After the loft in the Goldberg building is complete, the next slated project is the Jones building renovation. Plans include creating a restaurant space on the street level and five lofts upstairs. As the two buildings share quite a bit of backdoor ground space, there are plans for a sizeable courtyard to be shared by the tenants and customers of both locations. The courtyard will have a designated area for live music and Gibbie and Mashburn envision it as a jumping off point for a new phase in the evolution of downtown. “Residents at both buildings will be in walking distance to a grocery store, specialty shops, restaurants and well, just everything downtown,” says Gibbie excitedly. It’s evident by his enthusiasm that, as not only an investor but a resident, he is fully vested in being an integral part of Waynesboro’s revitalization. In addition to the courtyard, they’ve also purchased the lot adjacent to it, behind Golden Pantry. “It will provide much needed parking in the immediate area as street parking is limited,” Gibbie states.

Phase three of the mission of Halsey Dean is to renovate the commercial space in the single story side of what residents may remember as the old Mundy Shuman Funiture or, more recently, Goldberg’s Furniture on Shadrack Street. Gibbie has already spoken about this venture with enough passion and advocacy for the town’s commercial center that he is instrumental in the decision of a fellow antique dealer from Atlanta to relocate to Waynesboro to open an antique shop in that commercial space. “We hope these new retail spaces will help Waynesboro become a destination. People will come here to see downtown Waynesboro, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants.” What the men of Halsey Dean are doing seems to be right in line with helping that happen. As to Shadrack, as the investor pair refer to the building, there are plans to convert the two-story part of the building into downtown’s second set of five lofts. Leases will be offered to the public once the project begins and a completion date is projected.

Though no timeline has been released on either the Jones or Shadrack projects, the investors have already purchased a building for phase four. With the completion of the sale of the old Mobley cotton warehouse, there are plans to flesh out and complete the concept for a large wedding and event venue. There is no plan, as of yet, to settle on a starting date.

Interjecting words into each other’s sentences, as goose bumps form on an excited Gibbie’s arms, he and Mashburn gush, “Our view really is that we’re doing more than making investments; we’re saving these buildings. We are saving them from decay or demolition. That is really where our passion comes from.“ It’s a passion they both exude and their excitement about the future of downtown Waynesboro is contagious. They hope all of the residents will come to share the same vision.

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