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Chamber could be homeless after city doesn’t act on proposal to use space at DWP building

Boulder City Chamber of Commerce could be homeless in the next few weeks as it is being forced to move out of its current location and has yet to find a new one.

According to Chamber CEO Jill Rowland-Lagan, she and her staff need to be out of their location at 465 Nevada Way by May 30, but they have asked to stay for a few more weeks if possible.

At Tuesday’s, May 19, City Council meeting, an agenda item for a three-year contract to allow the chamber to use some space at the old Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building, 600 Nevada Way, for free, failed for lack of a motion.

According to Brok Armantrout, Boulder City’s contracts/real estate manager, the chamber was told it needed to vacate its current facility because the owner sold the building and the new owner did not want it there.

He said they had looked at other properties on Nevada Way that hadn’t worked out and they also hadn’t heard from the state about occupying the former Nevada Welcome Center at 100 Nevada Way.

Neither of the current tenants at the former water and power building, Emergency Aid of Boulder City or Red Mountain Choir would be forced to leave, and Armantrout said both were “OK” with the chamber being there.

Additionally, like the other tenants, the chamber would not pay rent to use the building. It would have to pay for the utilities it needed except electricity.

“We have been fortunate to have our previous offices donated on an annual basis, just like we have for the last 10 years,” said Jill Rowland-Lagan, chamber CEO, during public comment. “We did not pay rent and this has been provided as an opportunity to utilize all available funds for our advertising contracts instead.”

She said the advertising includes brochures and radio and TV commercials distributed throughout the state.

Mayor Kiernan McManus said he was concerned because it seemed like they have a “chamber that appears to linger without paying anything.”

“I’m certainly not trying to denigrate the work that the chamber does, but I also understand they were in the Boulder Dam Hotel prior to this, also paying no rent, and that space was determined to be necessary for something else, so they found other offices,” he said. “They were offered the space they are in now, again at no cost. … That troubles me that we have an organization that only seems to move on from something when they’re told to move on. They don’t look for their own space. They don’t pay for their own space.”

He also said that it’s “unfortunate” that the chamber did not recognize or support that the LADWP building was needed for other community needs.

Councilwoman Judy Hoskins said she had issues with the proposed agreement because it had an incorrect address for the chamber and some other inconsistencies.

She said the agreement should specify the area inside the building that would be used. She also said people had told her they were worried this was a way to kick Emergency Aid out of the building and she was concerned because the proposal had not gone before the Historic Preservation Committee.

“I’m convinced there is plenty of space,” said Councilwoman Claudia Bridges, who volunteers with Emergency Aid. “I don’t believe this would infringe on either Emergency Aid or Red Mountain Choir.”

Councilman James Howard Adams said Rowland-Lagan told him the move would be temporary and he wasn’t sure why the agreement was for three years.

“I would like to see it for a year,” he said.

The proposal failed because none of the council members made a motion to approve it.

“The chamber’s mission to create a high quality of life for our residents, balanced with a healthy business climate, is even more important today than ever before,” said Rowland-Lagan after the meeting. “We will continue to spend our time productively looking for a future partner and want to thank those that have reached out in the last 24 hours with generous options for the visitors’ center.”

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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