Midstate Chamber in Meriden moving to new office building near Wallingford line

Midstate Chamber in Meriden moving to new office building near Wallingford line

Record-Journal


MERIDEN — After decades on Colony Street, the Midstate Chamber of Commerce will move from its downtown office in September to an office building on the Meriden-Wallingford border. But the chamber will continue to have a downtown presence, officials said.

An anonymous doctor donated Suite 203 in the Birchwood medical condominiums at 546 S. Broad St. to the nonprofit Meriden Economic Development Co., which in turn executed a long-term lease with the Midstate Chamber of Commerce, said chamber President Sean Moore. Medco will also have a presence in the new chamber offices.

Medco’s board of directors approved the transaction Wednesday morning, followed by a unanimous vote by the Midstate chamber’s board.

“This is great office space right on the Meriden-Wallingford line positioning the chamber to grow and allowing Medco to continue its regional economic development activities,” Moore said in a statement announcing the lease and upcoming move.

The chamber is also pursuing acquiring a satellite office in the downtown area to be announced in the coming months.

“We are pursuing a couple of opportunities in downtown,” Moore said.

As a nonprofit, Medco, organized in 1979, is positioned to accept and facilitate donations to promote economic development. Donations made to Medco are deductible under the tax code, said Medco President Thomas Welsh.

“We are humbled to accept this gift knowing that this generous donor, who practiced medicine in our community for many years, deeply cares for the long-term growth of the community,” Welsh said.

The chamber will occupy a 1,200-square-foot suite on the building’s second floor, Moore said. The building offers modern office space with more parking and access than the chamber’s current 3 Colony St. location, Moore said. It also puts the chamber closer to Wallingford and Cheshire, where it has gained members in the past few years.

The chamber was at 5 Colony St. for decades until 2003, when it moved to 3 Colony St. Christine Bonito, of Shoreline Property Management, owns 3 Colony St., which also houses Cardinal Engineering on the second floor. The transaction is scheduled to close at the end of the month.

The building at 1-3 Colony St. has been on the market for several years, and the chamber’s lease expired more than three years ago. Since then, chamber leadership has been quietly exploring its options, Moore said.

“I’m glad they are remaining in Meriden,” Mayor Kevin Scarpati said. “I know when they rebranded their name to Midstate it was important to appeal to Wallingford. But it’s equally important to have a downtown presence. It’s important to have a downtown business community and having the chamber there gives our business a tremendous amount of help.”

Welsh and Moore agreed and are working with the city’s economic development department on opportunities to maintain a presence downtown, particularly in the city’s evolving transit-oriented district.

Welsh, a past chairman of the Midstate board, said Medco and the chamber are waiting for the state to approve its budget before announcing final downtown office plans.

Connecticut Main Street Center, which receives funding from the state, was looking for economic development fellows in cities and towns, and expanded its program to include Meriden after Medco pledged $50,000 as a small portion of the money needed to bring an economic development expert for downtown.

The economic development fellow will be an experienced economic development professional who will focus on filling new and existing commercial space on West Main and Colony streets, and work with the chamber, Medco and the city’s department of economic development, Welsh said.

Potential sites for a centralized economic development office include the former Middlesex Community College Meriden Center at 55 W. Main St.

“The delay in the state budget is delaying the announcement and start of that program,” Welsh said. “The chamber will be enhancing its presence downtown. It will have an office in Meriden, and the downtown site will house meetings and activities. We want to make sure people know we are not abandoning what we’re doing downtown.”

Welsh is confident the state funding for the economic development fellow will continue.

The lease to the chamber and the $50,000 investment in its downtown presence are two examples of the kind of initiatives Medco can implement. More than 20 years ago, Medco gave a business loan to a company named Microgenesis, now called Protein Sciences.

“We’re trying to get Medco back active again in Meriden and the surrounding region,” Welsh said. “This is exactly what we can do. We can get a tax advantage.”

mgodin@record-journal.com 203-317-2255 Twitter: @Cconnbiz


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