Our strategic focus and envisioned future blueprint – a process our leadership team began nearly two years ago – had reached the point of initiating our organization’s intentional journey of transformation … at the same time the Lancaster Chamber was needing to make some long-term decisions about office space because of the City of Lancaster’s decision to sell Southern Market Center, our leased home since 1988. So what began as a search for new office space became part of our transformational strategic process when we studied the former EH&D building at 115 East King Street in Downtown Lancaster.
First, this 5-story building met our essential requirements.
- City location: Polls of Chamber members showed a preference for a city site because of its centralized place in Lancaster County.
- Ample parking: The lower two levels are actually a mini-parking garage with 80 spaces, half accessed from King Street and the rest accessed from Grant Street in the rear.
- Purchase rather than lease: It was our goal to own a building where our monthly payments and cohabitating partners’ lease payments built an appreciable asset. A bonus with this property is there’s more parking than we need, so parking rental can produce additional annual income.
- Expanded cohabitating opportunities: The square footage and configuration will easily accommodate the organizations already sharing space with us at Southern Market Center (Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, EDC Finance Corporation, Leadership Lancaster and Business Group on Health). Its size also enabled us to add Lancaster City Alliance to our team of partners. We expect immediate operational efficiencies, while future Chamber and partners growth can also be accommodated.
- Independent & collaborative gathering space: This will help propel our emerging mission of creating an environment and facilitating partnerships that impact business success and our county’s prosperity.
Second, this convergence helped crystallize our strategic planning.
While the campaign may seem primarily focused on raising funds to purchase and renovate a building, it truly is about helping us serve a greater good for today’s Chamber members, all of Lancaster County’s businesses and organizations, school districts, governing authorities, and others throughout the communities that make up our county.
- Providing Access: The building is conveniently located with ample parking, where The Chamber’s programs, resources and data will be available to the entire community.
- Facilitating Partnerships: The collection of organizations under one roof with a collaborative model better connects other people and organizations, multiplying partnering successes.
- Accelerating Ideas: The creative minds of architects and skilled work of local craftspeople allow us to help people have bigger thoughts, bolder plans and exponential results.
- Developing Opportunities & Achieving Solutions: The highest priority of this building’s design was to make it a place where collaborative efforts are the start of achieving inspiring and creative solutions.
This building’s planning and design were executed with an entirely new focus that has resulted from our constant data mining as part of evaluating chambers of commerce, assessing emerging trends and implementing our recently completed Envisioned Future Blueprint. This new building is in stark contrast to many people’s perception of the “traditional” chamber of commerce model. A contrast we firmly believe is what today’s businesses want – and need – to help them excel.