Published: Apr 10, 2012 02:16 PM
Modified: Apr 10, 2012 02:17 PM
APEX - The Chamber of Commerce and the town are negotiating a new lease for the old train depot in downtown Apex. A big deciding factor on the chamber’s future at the depot is price.
The chamber’s Executive Director Brenda Steen has already approached the town to begin negotiations. The Apex Town Council on Tuesday voted to send the matter to a subcommittee for review.
The depot has housed the Apex Chamber of Commerce since 1996. The chamber’s lease with the Town of Apex is set to expire in September 2013.
Both groups said they hope to come to an amicable agreement to keep the chamber – which they say is an asset to the downtown – at its current location at 220 N. Salem St.
The train depot, built in 1914 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only property the town leases. As landlord, it’s the council’s responsibility to make sure Apex residents are getting a fair market value for the site, said Mayor Keith Weatherly.
From 1996 to 2005, the chamber paid $600 a year or $50 a month to lease the 2,486-square-foot space. The lease went year-to-year for four years, and in 2009, Apex started to renegotiate the lease.
During negotiations, the chamber signed a temporary lease for $500 a month, according to town documents.
An appraisal of the property in 2010 showed the market value rent at about $13 to $18 a square foot or $32,318 to $44,748 a year. This comes at about $2,693 to $3,729 a month.
After negotiations the chamber wound up signing a lease for $1,000 a month and paying for utilities. Apex maintains the building and insurance.
“The town of Apex clearly sees benefit in the Apex Chamber being located in the central business district, and that benefit is recognized in the current lease arrangement,” said Town Manager Bruce Radford.
Steen said she would like to keep the same rental rate and is optimistic that both groups can reach an agreement.
“The downtown is a destination location,” she said. “We’ve got fantastic visibility and parking.”
The parking lot is owned by the town and is open to visitors downtown.