High rise to take over Chamber office site

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce building on East Main Street was sold recently to First Move Properties, the developers who are in the process of constructing what will be Salisbury’s tallest building known as The Ross.

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to move to a building with visibility from Route 50 after selling its former East Main Street location to the developer of a high-rise building next door.

“We are excited to be a part of the renaissance of Salisbury,” said Bill Chambers, Chamber President and CEO.

The current Chamber building was sold recently to First Move Properties, the developers who are in the process of constructing what will be Salisbury’s tallest building known as The Ross.

The Chamber, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, bought the former bank building at 144 East Main St. for $500,000 in 2002, according to state property records. Its new sale price has not yet been recorded.

The new Chamber office at 200 East Church St. was built in 1913 as the Old School Baptist Church. It was later converted to an office space and most recently housed a real estate company. Chamber officials said in a news release that they will be moving there in the coming weeks.

In November, Christian Phillips of NAI Coastal sold the historic Church Street building to a local developer Bret Davis of Davis Strategic Development for $330,000. Following the sale, Phillips negotiated a lease for the Chamber to occupy 2,400 square feet.

Tonney Insley of SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate represented the seller.  The properties were owned by the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce are used as their main office and parking lot.

Christian Phillips.

The developer for The Ross, Nick Simpson, was represented by Tim Dennis of Keller Williams.

Insley worked with the Chamber over the past year to create a transparent sales process that allowed buyers to submit offers for the properties and for the Chamber to accept that which made the most sense for their needs.

 “Our new location will allow the Chamber to continue to service the regional business community on the Lower Shore as we commemorate 100 years as an organization,” Chambers said.

Tonney Insley.

Meanwhile, demolition work has begun at 130 and 132 East Main St. The Ross will incorporate the historical facades of the existing buildings there and add several stories.

Simpson, who owns First Move Properties, also plans to demolish the Chamber of Commerce building for a six-story student apartment building.

Salisbury officials recently agreed to let Simpson use fill dirt from a pile at the wastewater treatment plant to build up the former Chamber site which sits in the flood plain, said Amanda Pollack, the city’s Director of Infrastructure and Development.

The six-story building planned for the Chamber property will connect to the 12-story structure next door via a foot bridge over a landscaped alleyway. Another bridge will connect the taller building to the top level of the city’s parking garage.

At a recent meeting, City Council members approved a temporary construction easement in the alley that separates The Ross and the garage while the bridge is constructed, Pollack said. During that time, the alley will need to be closed to allow crane access.

When both buildings are completed, the complex will have 79 apartments. The taller building will have an open-air rooftop event center, offices and a ground floor restaurant.

Simpson first acquired 132 East Main St., which was built in 1921 as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building. He later bought the adjoining 130 East Main St.

From 1921-1946 the Odd Fellows used the building for its fraternity operations. In 1946 a one-story addition was made to the top of the building. During this time period the first floor housed a movie theater.

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce will soon occupy 200 East Church St., which was built in 1913 as the Old School Baptist Church.

Since the close of the theater the structure was used as office space and has most recently been referred to as the East Main Street Professional Building. 

Simpson plans to market fully furnished apartments to college students that include free parking and wi-fi, a private gym, a community garden, mailroom with package drop, coffee bar, and study room.

The rooftop area will be available to rent for weddings and corporate events.

The Chamber building sale is now the second that Insley has brokered as part of The Ross project. He also represented the seller in the 2018 sale of 132 East Main St., which was previously home to his father’s law firm.

“To contribute to another series of historic Downtown properties transforming into new landmarks for the Salisbury area is a great accomplishment and to represent the interests of the SACC was truly an honor,” Insley said.

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