At the Grand Opening event, former and current MAEDS and Chamber board members unveiled the new logo marking the occasion. A large crowd of business owners, Chamber and community members turned out for the special event.

MIAMI – Astonished and amazed was the reaction of the attendees at last Friday's Grand Opening Celebration touring the stunning new Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRCC)/ Miami Area Economic Development Service (MAEDS) headquarters.

The $750,000 newly renovated 5,000 square feet building is located at 11 South Main Street in Miami that once housed Harvey's Diamonds.

MRCC President/CEO Steve Gilbert said the building was chosen and purchased from area businessman Gene Anderson for $135,000 after an extensive site search by a MRCC Board committee.

Bob Workman served as the project manager and designer for the building renovation which cost nearly $600,000 funded by MAEDS loans.

“He put together all of the plans, and we went forward and selected Ryan Edmondson of Service Solutions to hire as our construction manager,” Gilbert said.

The project was then broken into subcontracted packages, and the results are an attractive, sleek, well-designed, modern professional building with multiple opportunities for use.

“I'm blown away that they've completed it on time and on budget,” Gilbert said. “We had a little bit of a cost overrun with a structural issue, but that's going to happen especially with older buildings.”

During demolition, the back wall and roof of the building were found not to be structurally sound and had to be replaced, but overall Gilbert said he is extremely pleased with the renovation process and completed result.

At the Grand Opening event, former and current MAEDS and Chamber board members unveiled the new logo marking the occasion. A large crowd of business owners, Chamber and community members turned out for the special event.

Glass enclosed office spaces, a large conference room, kitchen area, nooks for high-tech work, and comfortable lounge areas are included lending to a professional atmosphere and usefulness as part of the building's aesthetically pleasing design.

“The way I describe it, there are four functions for the building,” Gilbert said.

The building will serve as MRCC's headquarters and offices for economic development, events, programs, and services.

The second function of the building is offering co-working spaces for startups or existing business endeavors.

“Those will be available for rent, and the idea of the co-working space is available on three levels for nominal monthly fees,” Gilbert said.

Space is available for the use of BOLT serviced high-speed capacity internet work stations, a meeting room, printers and copiers and all the coffee they can drink, according to Gilbert.

“The folks at BOLT did a magnificent job for us,” he said. “We also have a partnership with Microsoft we're working on.”

The next level for a higher monthly fee offers designated work space, with the same accessibility to the office equipment and a locked drawer for storage. The highest co-working level offers the availability of office spaces for monthly lease within the building.

The third function of the new building design is to serve as a business incubator.

“We're working on programs and services that would be supportive of small businesses,” Gilbert said.

Currently, MRCC is partnered with Northeast Technology Center for providing business related seminars.

The fourth function is to offer the community a space for use for a variety of occasions.

“It's cool, and it's funky, we can have events there. For instance, we have partnered with the Arts and Humanities Council to have art displayed here,” Gilbert said. “We want the public, the community to come in.”

Throughout the remainder of September Gilbert said the MRCC headquarters will be available to use co-working space for free to allow those interested a test run and to discover what is now available.

“So if you need to come in and use the internet and hang out and just try it out, September's the month to do that,” Gilbert said. “MAEDS has eight revolving loan funds, so we really want to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs to come in and get some assistance and possibly they can get loans through our revolving loan funds.”

ISEEYOU360 owned by Tom Yoakum is developing a prototype and occupying an office in the new building.

“We're helping him get launched. Tom's our first co-working tenant,” Gilbert said.

During the event demonstrations of virtual reality, 3-D printing and Microsoft technology were ongoing.

There's also 3,000 square feet of room for future expansion on the second story of the building.

“The upstairs is not finished out, it's all gutted out and cleaned up,” Gilbert said. “So, if we have a company that wants to office there, or we have a bigger demand or incubator space, we could build based on demand on the upper floor.”

In August Gilbert completed his first year with the Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce/MAEDS and he is looking forward to putting the new facility to good use.

“I'm just really so excited,” Gilbert said. “This is a great space to promote and support economic development in our community.”

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at mstotts@miaminewsrecord.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.