ALBANY -- Officials with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission are looking into the pros and cons of moving their offices from the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce building on West Broad Avenue to vacant office space in the Riverfront Resource Center on Pine Avenue.
EDC Board Chairman Jay Smith broached the subject at the board's meeting Wednesday morning.
"That's a really beautiful piece of property that we'd considered before," Smith said. "Now that it's vacant again, we've been approached about occupying the property. We're looking into making a move; it's something we really need to consider.
"The open space that we have in the chamber building is not really conducive to the kind of work we do with the EDC."
Economic Development Commission Director Ted Clem outlined pros and cons of making the move and provided a dollar-for-dollar comparison of staying at the chamber's 225 West Broad location and making the two-block move to 125 Pine Ave.
"There is a synergy here being in the same building with the chamber, but there are also issues with prospects coming in to talk with us," Clem said. "We've had some ask to go somewhere more private to discuss their interests; they weren't comfortable talking in that open area where anyone could hear them.
"We'd gain more square footage, and the (property on Pine Avenue) is furnished. Plus we'd be in a place where prospects would feel more comfortable discussing their interests." Clem said the cost difference would amount to around $346.68 a month.
"If you negotiate a favorable agreement, I think (making the move) is a no-brainer," Chamber Board Chairman Miles Espy said.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, the EDC board got reports from leaders of its newly formed retention, recruitment and renewal committees. Chris Hatcher said he and members of the recruitment committee were encouraged by a recent trip to Atlanta to meet with state economic development leaders.
"We met with 26 or so members of the state developer community and got lots of great comments," Hatcher said. "We told them about our (joint city of Albany/EDC) deal-closing fund and our (planned) spec building, and they were very encouraging."
Smith noted that the speculative building, which would be funded mostly using Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax III dollars, would set Albany apart from most communities.
"We got some insightful comments about having an actual spec building rather than a 'virtual' building that so many communities have," the EDC board chair said. "We were told that developers aren't really interested in virtual buildings."
Added Clem: "(Development leaders) said virtual buildings did nothing to distinguish Albany from other communities."
"Their comment was, 'If you have a virtual spec building, we can send you plenty of virtual prospects,'" Hatcher added.
Espy said renewal committee members are working on efforts to brand the city, while Aaron Johnson said members of the retention committee had taken an enlightening tour of the Thrush Aviation plant.
"We've had a good calendar year," Smith said. "Everyone's putting in a lot of hard work. I believe we're due a win."