Chamber to move from Northbridge to Skyline

Published 9:46 am Monday, April 13, 2015

Organization will be in west part of building

The Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce will move from Northbridge Mall to Skyline Plaza at the end of June, according to chamber officials.

Randy Kehr

Randy Kehr

The chamber sent out a letter to all of its members on Friday explaining the decision, noting that it came after reviewing potential long-term plans.

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The organization will be in the former You Are Beautiful and More consignment store just inside the entrance closest to the old Walmart, as well as in a portion of the inside entrance of the old Walmart.

The lease will be for five years with an option to renew for three more years at the cost of the current lease. Utilities will also be significantly reduced, according to the letter.

Chamber Executive Director Randy Kehr said the ultimate goal is to have the office in a space owned by the chamber — whether a downtown building or a freestanding building in another location — but at this point, the chamber is not in a position to do that.

Extending the lease at Northbridge Mall would have proven to be “financially challenging,” according to the letter, so the chamber board and staff reviewed several other options.

Kehr said they researched several downtown locations, and each was either too small or required extensive remodeling on the chamber’s part.

He said the board plans to use some of the recovered expenses from utilities to support the purchase of a building in the future.

“The board strongly feels that our resources should always be devoted to serving the interests of our members first,” the letter states.

He said the Carrington Company, which owns and manages Northbridge Mall, has agreed to extend the chamber’s lease to allow time for the renovations at Skyline Plaza to be completed.