Business groups receive $400k grant for new home

Two Columbus business organizations believe they have found a new home, after a $400 thousand dollar grant from the city was approved yesterday.

The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation are planning to refurbish and move into a building at the corner of Franklin and Third Streets, next door to the Crump Theater and across the street from the Bartholomew County Governmental Office Building.

Until last December, the two agencies had been housed at the corner of Fifth and Washington Streets for many years. That’s when the neighboring buildings burned down in a weekend fire. Their building and its contents suffered fire, smoke and water damage making it unusable.

The groups have formed a non profit organization called the Bartholomew Economic Growth LLC for this venture. The organization asked for help from the Columbus Redevelopment Commission for the project at the new location, which has a total pricetag of about $1.4 million dollars. That includes $555 thousand to purchase the building, more than $600 thousand in renovations and improvements and nearly $175 thousand in other expenses including furniture.

Cindy Frey, president of the Chamber explains

The group hopes to close on the property early next year. In addition to the basic renovations to the existing building, the group is working with the LAA Office of designers to revamp the building. The plan is to turn it into an illuminated metal structure almost like a lantern. However, additional funding will have to be found for that part of the project.

Cindy Frey:

The redevelopment commission approved the grant request Monday afternoon. The money would come from the city’s tax increment financing district revenue, which comes from the growth in property taxes in the city’s special taxing units.

Photo: Concept rendering of Bartholomew Economic Growth LLC headquarters by the LAA Offices.