The Dublin Chamber of Commerce is getting an update to make its building at 129 S. High St. more compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and provide more workspace options for chamber members.
The chamber has occupied the city-owned building for 35 years, said Jenny Amorose, the chamber's chief operating officer.
Upon moving into the building, the chamber added onto the structure that served as the city's original town hall.
The last time the chamber updated the building was about 10 years ago, and work was cosmetic, such as new paint, flooring and furniture, Amorose said.
"We're actually really, really excited," she said.
More millennials are in the workforce in Dublin than ever before, Amorose said, and the chamber wanted to design a vibrant, physical space within the chamber to better connect millennials with industry leaders and the community.
The new building will offer multiple meeting rooms, flexible meeting space, coworking space, a small coffee shop and free internet service, Amorose said.
"It will really offer a great place for businesspeople to be able to just pop in," she said.
Amorose said the chamber had heard from members that they needed a landing space for a half-hour in between meetings or a place for those who work at home to go to meet with customers.
The chamber is expanding the building to add two new ADA-compliant restrooms to the space, Amorose said. The current restrooms will be turned into a kitchen area that will connect to the conference area, which will get a technology upgrade and glass doors.
The office area for chamber staff members will be reduced, Amorose said. Some of that space will be used for a smaller conference area. A hallway will be repositioned to allow for better access to the main conference room, she said.
"I think it's going to be great for our community," Amorose said.
Dublin City Council members Feb. 10 approved an ordinance that committed $335,000 toward the project. According to a Feb. 4 memo to council, the chamber will pay $115,000 toward the project.
The ordinance also approved a new building lease for the chamber for a 10-year term. The chamber would be able to extend the lease for two five-year terms.
City Manager Dana McDaniel said that per the lease agreement, the facility may be used by the city, the Dublin City School District and community organizations by scheduling with chamber staff members.
The update to the building, he said, will make the facility's entry and the restrooms ADA-compliant. Outdoor seating also is planned for the front of the building.
The chamber leadership's vision for the building reflects the popularity of co-working spaces, such as Brick House Blue in the Bridge Street District, McDaniel said.
"I think it's a good design on their part," he said.
The city expects to receive in March a more detailed design for the project, McDaniel said.
Because of modifications to the building's exterior, the project also will have to be reviewed by the Dublin Architectural Review Board. He said he hopes to begin construction this summer and finish by the end of the year.
Amorose said the chamber would remain open during construction.
The ways in which people traditionally have connected with each other are changing, said Scott Estep, chamber board president.
Because of that, the chamber redesigned its space to better connect millennials and industry leaders to the community and offer meeting room and flexible meeting space.
The chamber is positioned perfectly as the southern anchor of the city's historic district, Estep said.
"With a proposed pop-up park in front of the building, outdoor workspace will be provided in warmer months," he said.
"With the building near local restaurants and neighborhoods, it will be a great asset to small business owners, entrepreneurs and our young professionals group," he said.