Highland News Leader

Highland Chamber of Commerce sells its building, will relocate down the block

Learn why and where the Highland Chamber of Commerce is moving

The Highland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancie Zobrist describes why the organization recently sold its iconic building and announces its new location.
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The Highland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancie Zobrist describes why the organization recently sold its iconic building and announces its new location.

The Highland Chamber of Commerce has sold its building.

“We are trying to be good stewards of the organization, and a building of this size and age needs a for-profit owner who can invest the necessary funds to maintain it properly,” said Nancie Zobrist, the chamber’s executive director.

The building, which was first constructed as a bank, is located on the downtown Square at 907 Main St. The back part of the building dates back to 1891, according to Highland historian Roland Harris. On the Dec. 18, 1943, a fire destroyed the front half of the building, but it was rebuilt, Harris said.

It was on the third try that the chamber officially closed on the sale. The original closing date was scheduled for Jan. 12, but was pushed back to Jan. 23, at which time closing papers were signed. However, for undisclosed reasons, the papers had to be resigned, and the sale was not completed until Jan. 30, according to Zobrist.

The terms of the sale were not disclosed, and the identity of the buyer was not announced. As of Monday, the Madison County Recorder’s Office did not have any information on the sale.

The building was gifted to the chamber 24 years ago from First National Bank of Highland.

Tina Frank, president of the chamber’s board of directors, said the gift has been a blessing.

“We were able to be located downtown and on the Square in a very prominent area. It gave us the ability to house businesses and organizations that were in different stages of their business life,” Frank said.

In addition to the chamber, at the time of the sale, the building was also home to the Highland Area Community Foundation and Rinderer Law Firm, owned by Marshall Rinderer.

Leaps of Love, the Highland Lions Club, and Highland Printers, also recently called the building home, but relocated to the other side of the Square last year.

The chamber, along with the Highland Area Community Foundation, will be moving offices just down the street to 1216 Main St., the former location of Cutting Connections hair salon.

Rinderer said he will move back to his former location at 907 Washington St. in Highland.

“I’m excited to move back to my permanent location. As my practice grows, I will be remodeling the building,” said Rinderer, who added he was thankful to the chamber for helping him establish his business.

The chamber and HACF will be renting their new spaces from Frey Properties of Highland.

Zobrist said the space needs to be renovated to fit its needs and that of the community foundation. Gayle Frey, the owner of Frey Properties, said he is anticipating to have the building ready by May 1.

“It will be both a sad and an exciting occasion when we move. While we will miss all the old memories, we will be making new ones going forward,” said Zobrist, adding that the chamber staff and board of directors wanted to thank all of the people and businesses that have help maintain the building over the years.

But no matter what its location, the chamber’s mission will remain the same, Zobrist said.

“We will always be about relationships, connecting businesses to the community, and strengthening our local economy,” Zobrist said.

The new owners are allowing the chamber to remain in the building until its new space is is ready, Zobrist said. In the meantime, Zobrist said the chamber has begun preparing for the move.

“We’re working on slowly boxing up the years,” she said.

Any organization that has items stored in the 907 Main St. building will be contacted and will have time to gather their things before the move date, Zobrist said.

The chamber will be able to keep a little piece of its former building. Zobrist said the new owner is allowing the chamber to keep the custom stained glass window that sits above the front door.

Megan Braa: 618-654-2366, ext 23, @MeganBraa_