Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce staff will be packing boxes within the next few months.
The chamber of commerce building at 2133 Bowen Rd., which has been the organization’s home since the building was constructed in 2004, has been sold.
The 3,000 square-foot building was put on the market for $834,000 in January and sale of the property was announced Friday, Feb. 5.
“It went very quick and we had multiple offers,” said Kim Smythe, chamber CEO.
Smythe was’t at liberty to say how much the property sold for or who bought it other than the final selling price was higher than the listing and there were multiple offers from potential buyers.
Smythe also made clear the sale was not from any kind of financial stress from the COVID pandemic and that the chamber ended its fiscal year in the black for the third year in a row. Dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic was a matter of expense management.
“I’ve often wondered why we need 3,000 square feet for four people and a $30,000-a-year overhead,” Smythe said. “Seeking efficiency of operation was one reason to consider selling or leasing the building. Another one was a desire to be operating from downtown Nanaimo, which was, sort of, underscored by the economic development strategic plan, which emphasizes downtown revitalization as a priority for economic development, and the third reason is because there some people who would like to co-locate with us and we’d like that co-location to be downtown.”
Smythe said because everything is still being negotiated, he is also not able to disclose which individuals or organizations are planning to share a new space with the chamber or exactly where the new downtown accommodations will be, but all of those details will be announced at a later date.
The chamber will most likely move at the end of April.
“We’ll get our moving boots on, we’ll call everybody that’s got a pickup truck and buy a couple cases of beer and away we go,” he said.
Smythe said the pandemic has created some interesting times and unexpected possibilities.
“Once we started to talk about what we could be doing, opportunities started to pop up all around us,” he said. “We think that 11 months into COVID there’s be nothing left and no gas in the tank and nobody willing to do anything or make any commitments, but we found quite the opposite, that there was a bunch of people who would like to do a lot of stuff and downtown really is rife with opportunity.”