PORTSMOUTH – The owner of CJ Architects is helping two Seacoast cities grow, and her passion for planning and design is part of her professional and personal life.
Carla Goodknight is known in Portsmouth for helping to transform the North End into an upcoming and vibrant community through her work. Her firm designed the HarborCorp project, which will bring in a new hotel and events center, residential condominiums, a parking garage and a Whole Foods Market when it is completed. CJ Architects also designed 233 Vaughan Street, which has Portsmouth’s first rooftop pool for condo owners.
233 Vaughan Street has a garden, grill and fire pit on its roof, with views overlooking the Piscataqua River and the bridges to Maine.
“The desire of this developer was to create a backyard experience on the roof,” Goodknight said. Her office is located in the building, and condos are still being fitted up for buyers once their sale is final.
As a Dover resident, Goodknight sits on the Cocheco Waterfront Development Advisory Committee, and has offered her insight into what will help the Garrison City grow in years to come. She sees many similarities between her two beloved cities, and says Dover is on the cusp of becoming the next place where people will want to live and play.
“One of our primary goals in Dover is energizing the downtown,” Goodknight said.
A new waterfront park, dock facilities and other recreational opportunities will help Dover attract and keep those who want to reside in an area where they can walk to shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, she said.
Portsmouth is attractive to many, but with condos costing about $800 per square foot, a $1 million to $4 million price range just isn’t feasible to some who want to live on the Seacoast, Goodknight said. With a new high school being built, and work being completed on Route 16, Dover may just be the right fit for those people.
Jack Mettee, who is the chair of the waterfront committee in Dover, said Goodknight’s experience as a designer has been helpful as the project turns from a concept into a tangible plan.
“She brings a high degree of value to the committee at this point,” Mettee said. “She’s worked with a number of developers in an urban environment.”
Mettee, who has worked with Goodknight for some time, said she is generous with her time and talents, and it is appreciated.
“She’s not just a workday architect. She’s very interested in the community where she lives,” Mettee said.
CJ Architects has been in business for two decades. In addition to urban development, they work on custom homes and in historic preservation.