Board chair says Chamber hopes to move into new quarters in mixed-use development on Cedar Springs by the end of August
Officials with the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce and The Crosland Group announced this week that the chamber will be moving into offices at ilume, the new mixed use residential/retail development now being completed on Cedar Springs Road, later this summer.
Luke Crosland, owner of The Crosland Group, said his company is providing the office space free of charge to the chamber for two years. He estimated the value of the two-year lease at about $40,000.
"Ryan Baldwin, our property manager for ilume, knew [Chamber Executive Director] Tony Vedda and he knew of the Chamber, and that’s how we got together with them," Crosland said.
"I have been working really hard with the [Cedar Springs] Merchants Association and other owners in the area. We are committed to the future success of the neighborhood," Crosland said. "It is already an internationally known entertainment district, and we want to improve on that. We want ilume to help drive more customer traffic to the area, and I think the restaurants and other retailers we are bringing in will help do that.
"We are very excited to be a part of the Chamber and to be supporting it this way," he said. "As part of our overall commitment to the district, we wanted to find an organization we could support on a larger scale. We’re very glad to have found the GLBT Chamber, and we hope to bring new businesses to the neighborhood and to the Chamber, as well as offering support to other organizations," like the Dallas Tavern Guild and the Merchants Association.
Derrick Brown, chair of the Chamber’s board of directors, said moving into the new office space is "a huge step" for the organization.
"Having any office space at all is a big thing for us. And having an office in such a prestigious area and in such a prestigious development will really help tie us to our community and our members," Brown said.
Crosland said the Chamber offices will be located in the second-phase building, in a large unit on the first floor, immediately adjacent to the breezeway between the different sections of the development.
It will also be adjacent to the development’s concierge and lobby, and the ilume concierge will also act as concierge for the Chamber, Crosland said. Chamber visitors will enter through the ilume lobby, and the Chamber will have shelf space in the lobby to display its Dallas guide and other materials.
Brown said through that arrangement, the Crosland Group is "giving us so much more than just a place to put a desk and a computer."
"There are just so many great aspects to this relationship," Brown said. "The ilume concierge will serve as a visitors center for LGBT visitors to the area. They will be handing out our guide, talking about what’s available to them. I don’t think there is any other place like that in country, and it will be a great draw to get people more aware of what’s available to them in Dallas and Cedar Springs."
Brown said the new arrangement will also mean the Chamber has "meeting space where our members can do business and connect with other members."
The area in which the Chamber offices will be located are expected to be complete sometime in August, and Brown said Chamber officials plan to move in as soon after that as possible.
In preparation for the move, Brown said, the Chamber is working to round up the necessary furniture and supplies, and working with Chamber members and partners to get Internet service, phone service and utilities provided.
"This is just the next step in the evolution of the Chamber," Brown said. "We have 286 members now and we are just growing like crazy. We have new programs — like the LEAP Program for LGBT and allied youth.
"We just have so many things going on, and actually having a place now to meet will be a huge advantage," Brown continued. "This is something we couldn’t do all on our own. But having this space now is one of those things that can really put us on the map and give us a real presence in the community we serve."
Crosland said the concept of ilume is to "build mixed-use communities and to be committed to the communities we build them in."
He said the development has about 23,000 square feet of retail space, which is "about 80 percent committed." The residential portion will include 316 units and about 7,000 square feet of amenity space, not counting the courtyard area, which will include a 180-inch theater screen, a lap pool, surround sound and special lighting.
There will also be a 1,800-square-foot patio area, and a second, 1,400-square-foot patio for al fresco dining.
Crosland said ilume will house the first Red Mango frozen yogurt store in Texas, a catering company offering fresh food daily, restaurants and more.
"We are negotiating with a salon right now," he said.
Retail space was turned over to tenants this week so they could begin their "finish out," Crosland said, and "we hope to have some opened by September and most if not all by November at the latest."
The first residential building, with 74 available units, will have tenants moving in within the next two weeks, he said, and the amenity space should be complete by the end of August.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 19, 2009.