Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh
Lynchburg, VA - The Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce will soon get a brand new home. They're moving from midtown Lynchburg and closer to the hustle and bustle around Wards Road. Thursday, the Chamber started fundraising for the multi-million dollar project.
Liberty University is connected to this project. LU owned the building the Chamber will move into, even sold it to the chamber at a discounted rate. If everything goes as planned, the chamber will have a new home by 2013.
For 47 years, the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce has lived on Memorial Avenue. But more than four decades has meant plenty of wear and tear on the building, and it's time for change.
"It no longer communicates the type of image that is representative of the quality of this community, our business members in this region," said Rex Hammond, president of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The complaint is that there's just not enough space, especially office space and parking space. Equipped with twice the square footage, the new building will have more than enough room to roam.
Designed by Wiley-Wilson, at a nearly $3 million price tag, the new chamber will occupy the old Billy Joe's ice cream shop near Candlers Mountain Road. For the Chamber, a new building means renewed connection with regional businesses.
"It'll be a welcoming front door for those businesses who would like to relocate to this beautiful area," said Georgia Fauber, chamber board member.
When location matters, the Chamber says the 29-460 intersection near Wards Road is the place to be.
"Times have changed. Lynchburg has changed and moved outward, and the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce needs to change too," said Tulane Patterson, chair of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber has already raised about a $1 million toward its $2.9 million goal.
The chamber's also in talks with the city about putting a visitor center branch in the new chamber building.