City sublets space at Estrella Gin to Chamber of Commerce

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This building at Estrella Gin will be home to the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce for up to three years via a sublease from the City of Maricopa. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

Maricopa has another tenant for its space at the Estrella Gin Business Park: the Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber will join Maricopa Economic Development Alliance as tenants in the city’s space at the new business park, pairing two of the city’s most important business and economic-development agencies in the same building.

The lease term began Sept. 1 and will run for a year, through Aug. 31, 2023, and has two mutual one-year extension options.

City Council unanimously approved the lease at last Tuesday’s meeting.

The Chamber has had mixed success over the years. The city is investing in the Chamber via dramatically discounted rent at the new facility.

Maricopa is leasing the space to the Chamber for $200 per month the first year, $400 per month the second year and $700 per month in the third year.

To qualify for the heavily discounted rent, the Chamber must meet a series of performance deliverables including:

  • Assisting new businesses, small businesses and entrepreneurs with training seminars, resource sharing, coaching clinics and networking.
  • Maintaining a city-developed business registry, to be published on the Chamber website.
  • Developing and distributing a weekly newsletter to registry members and including information provided by the city.
  • Granting the city a Platinum Chamber membership.
  • Having a City Council member or, at the Council’s pleasure, city representative appointed by the city manager, as a non-voting, advisory member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
  • Facilitating and executing new business ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies within city limits.
  • Creating a business plan including membership growth and business retention within six months of the signing of the lease.
  • Hire an executive director within 12 months of lease signing.
  • Make a presentation to City Council within six months of signing the lease regarding issues of common interest to the Council and Chamber and do so annually following the initial presentation.
  • Attend the city’s annual planning session to discuss future shared visions.

“We’re looking for a recipe for success that allows us to get to a certain level of high performance and sustain it,” then Councilmember Nancy Smith said when the council debated the issue at an April meeting.

“The city definitely is interested, through this contract, in partnering with the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve helped in many ways in the past as a city and we see this as probably a last opportunity to create a partnership that becomes valuable to the city as a whole and to businesses within the city of Maricopa and to residents, as well.”

The deliverables outlined in the sublease reflect those proposed by Smith and unanimously approved by the council.

Council member Amber Liermann agreed that oversight of the chamber is necessary and found one area particularly encouraging.

“One thing I’m really looking forward to are strategies for business retention and looking forward strategically how they hope to do that,” Liermann said in April.

She added she was looking forward to having that information included in the Chamber’s annual presentation to City Council.

Vice Mayor Vincent Manfredi said the deliverables are just good fiscal policy for the city.

“As your Council members, we’re required to be good fiduciaries of the taxpayers’ money,” Manfredi said. “We want to be sure the money is being well used and we’re getting a return on our investment.”

–Editor’s note: Vincent Manfredi is co-owner of InMaricopa.