Gables Chamber Purchases Building For New Home
By Armie Margaret Lee
After a three-year search, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce has found a new home.
Chamber officials closed Tuesday on the purchase of a two-story property at 224 Catalonia Ave. for an undisclosed price.
"This will be the first building the chamber has ever owned, to my recollection," said President and Chief Executive Officer Lettie Bien. The 1,000-member chamber, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year, is now based at 360 Greco Ave. The move to the new location, Ms. Bien said, would likely take place at the end of this month.
The 4,500-square-foot property, one block south of the Coral Gables Police Station between Salzedo Street and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, is "not configured in the perfect way I would want it to for the chamber," Ms. Bien said.
Ideally, she said, the new home would include a visitors center, which Coral Gables has not had. "It’s been on everyone’s wish list," Ms. Bien said. "We think it’s important for the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry."
She said that ultimately, financing considerations "will dictate whether and when we will have a visitors center. It’s a nebulous concept right now."
The chamber had been searching for a site for three years. "It’s not that we didn’t find places we liked," Ms. Bien said. "Either the pricing was too high or by the time the committee (discussed a favorable site), the property is no longer on the market."