Chamber of commerce stays put
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 06:00 am
The St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce is staying put.
The local business group has been reconsidering its housing options since last month, when the City of St. Albert’s economic development branch announced that it was moving out of the building they shared at the southern entrance to St. Albert.
Last week the chamber decided to sign another five-year lease on the building, said Mike Howes, chair of the organization’s building committee.
“Of all the deals we looked at it’s no better or worse for what we pay a month. The short-term benefits are that we have no moving costs and no improvements to make,” he said.
“And with some tenants we think we can help offset the cost and the location is certainly really good for us.”
Howes could not comment as to who might be moving in with the chamber.
One last issue to resolve is a pending agreement between the City of St. Albert, the building owner and the province of Alberta, which owns the land.
The province hasn’t yet renewed its agreement with the city but no changes to the lease are expected.
“We are taking a gamble and hoping the province comes through with the same kind of deal that they had on it before,” he said.
Howes said the chamber is continuously expanding and will need more space in the future. The group is hoping to someday own its own building but it will be a few years until it has enough money in its building fund.
He added that other chambers in Grande Prairie, Edmonton and across Canada have followed a similar model.
“The chambers own the buildings and rent out space, and it’s a revenue and sustainability factor,” he said.
“Obviously, we are not bizillionaires at the chamber and we need to put a few years in to plan and work toward that.”