As a kid, Christopher Koehler often admired a large barn on the outskirts of Huber Heights along Interstate 75 as his parents drove him to his grandparents’ house.
Today, Koehler and his wife, Jing Wang, own that barn and they have plans for a wedding venue on the property.
Koehler said he and Wang had been interested in wedding venues for a long time.
“It sounded like a really happy business to be in,” he said.
Since they bought it, the two have been applying for permits, restoring the building and working through the process of turning the old Shetland pony barn completed in 1914 into a modern wedding venue.
The barn is located at 8120 Bellefontaine Road in Huber Heights, across from Carriage Hill MetroPark. The barn is recognizable because it was one of the barns chosen to have the 200-year anniversary of Ohio logo painted on the side. Ohio turned 200 years old in 2003.
The two are calling the events venue the The Bicentennial Barn.
They are now taking reservations for 2022. They are not finished with building the barn yet, Koehler said, since COVID-19 put the brakes on their construction and original finance plans.
“The business plan changes when you’re not allowed to operate for an entire year,” he said.
Koehler and Wang have a background in real estate and flipping houses, they said. Jing said she has been in real estate since 2003. But making the barn into a wedding venue was different.
“We thought we knew what we were getting into, but it’s beyond a next-level challenge to flipping houses,” Koehler said, noting the permitting process in particular took a long time to complete.
Jing said they took a longer time restoring the barn to make sure the original wood, art and design was protected.
Koehler said the original bicentennial logo would no longer be visible from the outside of the barn but will be preserved inside the walls. They are planning to repaint the logo on the outside, he said.
Wang and Koehler used cedar on the outside of the barn, put a new slate roof on, and built a shell around the outside of the barn using new materials so they could keep and preserve the inside of the barn, but also put in insulation. Koehler said the barn should last another 100 years after the restoration.
“We really want to protect this building,” Wang said. “We didn’t want to ruin it.”
For more information, visit the website https://bicentennialbarn.com/ or call 937-830-8450.
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