Chamber, EDC seeking city’s help in renovating possible new downtown location

Photo provided An artist's rendition of a renovation of a downtown building at the southwest corner of Third and Franklin streets that could become the new home of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A little over one year since a fire destroyed the Irwin Block Building and damaged neighboring offices on Fifth Street, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. (EDC) may be close to acquiring new headquarters with some help from the city.

The two organizations are considering the Engelstad Wealth Advisors building on the southwest corner of Third and Franklin streets, said Columbus Redevelopment Director Heather Pope. They plan to invest a little under $1.4 million into the structure which includes the cost of the property purchase and renovations and are requesting a $400,000 grant from the Columbus Redevelopment Commission to help fund this undertaking.

The commission will consider the request at 4 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of Columbus City Hall.

“We are excited about them being able to find a location in our downtown,” said Pope. “They’re an integral part of our economic development and growth of our downtown.”

Both the chamber and the EDC were previously located in offices at 440 Fifth St, which sustained “major fire and water damage” from the Dec. 3, 2022 blaze, according to their leadership. Since late December of 2022, Cummins Inc. has been leasing office space at 526 Washington St. to the chamber and EDC, with both entities indicating that this is a temporary solution while they search for a new location.

“After an exhaustive year-long search, we are excited to inform you that the organizations have successfully entered negotiations to acquire a 4,682 square-foot commercial structure located at the prominent corner of Third and Franklin Streets in downtown Columbus,” the chamber and EDC wrote in a letter to the redevelopment commission. “This property, with dual entrances at 230 and 250 Franklin Street, offers a central and accessible location that aligns with the mission of both entities. This week, we are reviewing loan term proposals from area financial institutions with an intended goal of closing on the property in January or February.”

For the complete story, see Saturday’s Republic.