Chris Warren continues to pursue his entrepreneurial and creative vision as a co-founding principal of Beauxwright. He is involved in all aspects of the business, with an emphasis on transactions, sourcing capital and strategy. With over 20 years of commercial real estate development and capital markets experience, Chris shares his perspective on the industry, his hometown of Charlotte and what makes Beauxwright tick.
What drew you to the field of real estate development?
My grandfather, Wilson Malcolm Clayton, was an entrepreneur, developer and homebuilder in Orlando, FL. Growing up, he would drive me around Orlando explaining how and why developments, neighborhoods and cities grow the way they do, and how important “location, location, location” was to any property. Those wonderful memories and impressions early on drew me to real estate.
Beauxwright was built on the foundation of creating and cultivating long-term relationships. Why is this so important and how do you think it influences your day to day?
What I enjoy most about what we do is the long-term friendships and relationships we develop with each other, our partners, lenders, architects, engineers, contractors, brokers, property owners and all the people we get to work with. Day to day, we are constantly depending on the quality of those relationships and collaborating with teams of people to solve challenging problems and realize a property’s full potential.
What about your job do you find the most rewarding?
The most rewarding parts of my job are remembering all the people who came together on a completed project to make it a reality, and enjoying how the places we envision and build have a positive impact on the communities where so many people live, work and play.
As a Charlotte native, what has been most surprising to you about how the city has changed over the years?
The amount of momentum spurred by the Light Rail and how it’s attracted so many young people to the places around it, such as South End and NoDa.
You left for college and then moved to Manhattan--what made you want to come back to Charlotte?
In addition to wanting to be closer to family here in Charlotte, I decided to move back to Charlotte and start our business for the same reason so many other people and businesses are moving here from all over the country: relative affordability, vibrant and dynamic business community and workforce, and wonderful quality of life.
Do you feel like being “native” provides you with an advantage in your approach to the local real estate market?
Working most of my career outside Charlotte, I realized how rewarding, fun and valuable it is to do business with people I grew up with and longtime friends. Another thing is I feel vested in the future of the city and community, with an appreciation for where we have come from and a desire to contribute to where we are going.
You’re very active in the community. Describe some of the organizations and causes that are most important to you and why.
One cause I am passionate about is affordable housing. As residential developers, we want to be a part of the solution for affordable housing by promoting mixed-income communities where possible. We’ve figured out creative ways to include some level of affordable housing in several of our developments through collaborations with the City of Charlotte and other nonprofits. As a business, we support organizations like Roof Above, who are doing great work in our community to end homelessness.
If you had to choose only five words to describe Beauxwright, what would they be?
Innovative, collaborative, entrepreneurial, honest and fun.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Lean into uncertainty, believe in yourself and enjoy the ride!
- Favorite restaurant: Crunkleton
- Beach or mountains: Mountains
- Favorite day of the week: Sunday
- Call or text: Call
- Favorite hobby: Golf