greater-richmond-news

The Greater Richmond Chamber is moving to new digs.

The business group announced Wednesday that it had signed a lease to take over much of the 17th floor of the SunTrust Center at 919 E. Main St. downtown. Its board approved the move Wednesday morning.

The chamber will lease nearly 12,000 square feet, taking about two-thirds of the floor. It will have views looking north, east and south.
The organization currently leases 17,000 square feet on the seventh floor of the Main Street Centre building, which the state now owns. It moved there in January 2006.
The group’s 10-year lease there expires in January. It plans to move into the new space in late January or early February, depending upon when construction on the new space can be completed.
Kim Scheeler, the chamber’s president and CEO, said the group has been looking for new space for more than a year. One of its goals was to find space where the chamber could hold larger-scale meetings.
“We wanted space that could be configured differently so we could have more meeting-room space,” Scheeler said. “Because of the columns in this (Main Street Centre) building, that wasn’t possible.”
The new space will have a meeting room large enough for 120 to 140 guests seated at round tables, or 175 people standing. The chamber will be able to host its board meetings and other events and meetings there, which it cannot do in its current space.
Another issue the chamber had with its current offices is the lack of public parking near the building.
“There is an abundance of public parking (on an hourly basis) available near the SunTrust building,” Scheeler said. “That becomes important for us as we move meetings into our space.”
The chamber will have less space in its new offices than it does at Main Street Centre, but it will be more efficient, Scheeler said.
Russell Wyatt with Commonwealth Commercial Partners, who led the negotiations on behalf of Miami-based Parmenter Realty Partners, which owns and manages the SunTrust Center, said adding the chamber will be good for the tenant mix.
LeClairRyan took space on the top three floors of the 24-story SunTrust Center earlier this year. The building also is home to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.
Commonwealth Commercial, a Henrico County-based real estate brokerage, took over leasing of the SunTrust Center in October 2013, when the building was nearly 20 percent vacant.
It now is more than 95 percent filled with about 20,000 square feet of space left. “We have done great. We have a landlord that is responsive and wants to make deals,” Wyatt said.
Barry Hofheimer with CBRE|Richmond represented the chamber in the lease negotiations.
Hourigan Construction is taking the lead on the construction of the chamber space. Odell Associates is handling the space planning and architectural work.
The chamber had its headquarters at 201 W. Franklin St. for 30 years until it moved to Main Street Centre in 2006. The Franklin Street building was sold in May 2005 to Washington developer Douglas Jemal for $1.675 million.