A plan is in the works to move a local chamber’s headquarters to an iconic redevelopment.

The Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce announced a transition plan to move the chamber’s headquarters to Model Mill site.  

The site is the center of growth in the West Walnut Street corridor. 

Also, a search is underway for a new chamber president.

“It is the culmination of a vision that began a decade ago and now can become a reality,” says Chamber President Gary Mabrey. “I want to be part of the fundraising effort to enter a lease/purchase agreement for a permanent home for the chamber within the mill before I move on to new pursuits by mid-year 2019. 

Today, the chamber signed a letter of intent that will include a seven-year lease for more than 7,400 square feet within the mill. The plan includes a plan to purchase the space from the Summers family as the chambers new home. 

Incoming 2019 chamber Chairman Neil Poland explains, “The move is a strategic decision that places our chamber at the epicenter of the West Walnut Street Redevelopment Project and along State of Franklin Road that better connects our downtown to ETSU. This redevelopment will help grow our tax base, create jobs and enhance our quality of life.

The chamber’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will also locate to the mill. 

“Our finalization of the agreement is contingent upon the completion of a successful financial campaign, supported by the community, especially the business community, and our local governments,” says Vince Hickam, the Chairman of the Chamber’s Foundation Board. “Our purpose is to complete the fundraising component of our transition plan in early 2019.” 

Summers-Taylor is redeveloping Model Mill. The site will also become the new corporate office for Summers-Taylor, as well as other business and commercial sites. 

The chamber was the first to purchase the property about a decade ago, but over the eight years — after attempts to redevelop, the property was sold to the Summers family. 

Mabry says he will assist the new president before leaving for other pursuits.  

“It has been a distinct honor to serve as Chamber President in my hometown,” said Mabrey. “It has been the hard work of our staff, hundreds of Chamber volunteers and a great community in which to do business that has made my job a joy. I want to play a role in moving our Chamber headquarters to the Model Mill. It will be a great step forward for the next generation of Chamber achievements and will be a wonderful landmark during Johnson City’s Sesquicentennial in 2019.”

“We would not be in the great position that we are in without the more than 30 years of Gary Mabrey’s leadership,” says Chamber’s Board of Directors’ Chairman, Andy Dietrich “We will begin a nationwide search for a new Chamber President beginning in the coming weeks”. 

The current chamber headquarters is located at 603 East Market Street.