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Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.

Seth Godin
I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.

Walt Disney Company
PlainJoe Development


Throughout history, humanity has centered its communities around sacred spaces. Around the world, the plazas, piazzas, and “third places” where people have chosen to gather have often been at the foot of cross-shaped basilicas and cathedrals in the heart of their cities. However, in our increasingly postmodern, post-Christian, car-oriented culture, churches have lost their centrality and are hidden behind suburban industrial parks or asphalt parking lots—often sitting empty for six and a half days a week. Increasingly, the stewardship and strategies of Kingdom real estate is being called into question. Rather than building internally focused campuses, we believe that God is calling us to dig today’s version of Jacob’s Well. Facilities where the Samaritans of today can turn daily interactions into a taste of living water through the innovative faith-anchored mixed-use development of “destinations that lift the spirit.”


PlainJoe Development is a full-service, Kingdom-driven real estate development company with a passion for coming alongside churches to re-imagine how property can be utilized for community engagement and impact. Our team can provide turn-key solutions with proven expertise in every step of the development process from site evaluation, feasibility analysis, design, entitlements, construction management, marketing, and property management. Additionally, PlainJoe Development has access to various capital markets to bring the necessary capital stack, a combination of equity and financing, to fund the vision.


Our multi-disciplined team has over 60 collective years of experience in every aspect of the development process. With over $3 Billion in completed development projects worldwide and over $1 Billion in capital raised, the PJD team has the capabilities and the networks to help transform your vision into a reality.

Charles Yi

Charles Yi began his career in real estate development in 1989 and, over the last 32 years, has expanded his business portfolio to include international joint ventures with major companies and prominent individual investors. His interests include partnerships in clean energy solutions, large-scale housing and commercial developments, and private equity. As a developer, he has amassed over $2.5 billion in real estate development and investments in commercial, hospitality, industrial, residential, and mixed-use sectors. He continues to expand his portfolio as a developer and as an influential capital partner.

Charles is an ordained minister with the Evangelical Christian Alliance. He also serves as the Executive Director of RElaunch Church Building & Land, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization through which he operates his global philanthropic projects. In 2004, he was invited to the Pentagon by the US Department of Defense Afghanistan Reconstruction Group (ARG) to assist with their reconstruction efforts which included an on the ground tour of Afghani infrastructure. He has coordinated the funding and operation of orphanages, women’s centers, and clinics in Mazer-e-Sharif, Kandahar, Afghanistan, and many other nations. His passion is to create humanitarian efforts that bring the private and public sectors together globally to improve conditions for those who suffer.

Mel McGowan

Chief Creative Officer

Mel McGowan (AICP, DBIA, LEED AP) is the leading master planner and designer of Christ-centered communities in America, having served hundreds of ministries as the original “Architectural Evangelist” and Visioneer. He was a founder of PlainJoe and Storyland Studios and now serves as Chief Creative Officer. 

Mel combined his background in film and design during a decade-long stint at the Walt Disney Company. Post-Disney, his client roster has included some of the top storytellers in the world, from George Lucas to pastors such as Rick Warren to Max Lucado.  Mel has led teams that have won multiple Solomon Awards for “Best Church Architect” and “Best Builder” and is the author of Design Intervention. He is a contributing editor to Outreach Magazine, was named one of the top 25 influencers by OC Metro Magazine, and is an Adjunct Professor at CBU’s College of Architecture, Visual Arts & Design. 

At PlainJoe, Mel creatively leads the unique multi-disciplinary Spatial Storytelling℠ studio, which integrates the multiple disciplines of master planning, architecture, interior design, show set design, environmental graphics, and themed attraction design in creating compelling experiences and environments around the world.