Move could benefit CVB, Chamber

Sep. 01, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

Leaders of two High Point organizations with complementary roles say a pending move in which they will share a location should be mutually beneficial.
The High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau last week announced that it will move its offices to the High Point Chamber of Commerce headquarters at 1634 N. Main St. in early 2014 when its lease expires at its current location at 300 S. Main St.
One of the biggest benefits of the move for the CVB will be the opportunity to develop a larger visitors center that can accommodate more than 50 people, with new exhibits on High Point companies and attractions, said CEO Tim Mabe.
The CVB plans to convert the chamber building’s existing board room into a visitors center, complete with a new, separate entrance. Its current location has room for only about 10 visitors and includes limited parking, Mabe said.
The chamber facility has ample parking and easier motor coach access, he said.
The CVB has ambitious plans for the new visitors center, including “interactive displays, scaled models of area attractions, a city model showing showroom locations and even an ongoing video presentation,” according to the organization.
The new site will also put the CVB closer to the area that is the focus of the forthcoming master plan by Miami-based architecture firm Duany Plater-Zyber. The master plan will attempt to spur revitalization of the center city.
“With the master plan that DPZ proposes, our welcome center can serve as the first stop for visitors to High Point,” Mabe said. “They can find out what is offered and where to go and then easily walk or drive to those destinations.”
Mabe, who stressed that the CVB’s move to the chamber building is not a merger of the two organizations, said its current location is within a building owned by International Market Centers, which appears poised to convert the facility into furniture market showroom space.
The CVB, which is funded by a 3 percent hotel tax and has a $1.4 million budget, will rent office space for its seven employees from the chamber. That will give the organization a much-needed revenue infusion to help it pay down a $2 million loan it took out a few years ago to fund renovations and improvements to its building.
Chamber board Chairman Kelly Sain said the organization, which is in the midst of a search for its next president, is on stable financial footing.
“It’s going great. We’re making our payments (on the loan) as scheduled,” he said, adding that the organization plans to convert some of the unfinished square footage in its facility into a new board room.
He added that the CVB move will provide another avenue for the chamber to promote the 1,150 businesses that comprise its membership and will help support its business-relocation efforts.
“My goal, eventually, would be to create a one-stop shop for visitors to High Point now that we will have the CVB there,” Sain said. “It should make it very convenient for anyone coming into High Point to just stop there and get any kind of information they might need about local businesses and attractions.”