Boulder City Chamber Celebrates New Office Opening
by Ev Chase
When Bob and Donna Draney presented an opportunity to the Board of Directors of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce to occupy a new building they were planning on the corner of Arizona and Nevada Way, there was little hesitation and big smiles on the faces of the Directors.
The subject came up, according to Jill Rowland-Lagan, Executive Director of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, when the Bob and Chad Blair families and the Draneys' were on a skiing trip during the Christmas season.
During their discussions they put together the concept of renovating the old gas station which the Draneys' had recently purchased.
"At the time of the discussions, Jill says, "it was going to remain the old gas station building and the Chamber would occupy the back space."
The problems of renovating the old gas station building were overwhelming and the future became the beautiful finished building that can be seen on our cover and on the corner site.
The Draneys' are the developers of the City Center Galary across the street from the recently constructed and Chamber occupied building. There was little doubt in the minds of the Chamber Board that the structure they were offered would be a class act.
"As the Draney's became a little more involved (with the gas station) they found out it was more of a nightmare then what they were planning," says Jill. "It just kept getting bigger, it kind of took on a life all it's own."
With the ball in motion, Jill, as the Chamber Executive Director, had a problem of her own to work out.
The Chamber, as one of the four Boulder Dam Hotel owners, had to work a plan to leave their current location.
"At the same time they (the Draneys') were working out the building problems, Jill says, "Chad (Chad Blair, then Chamber President) and me were working on a proposal for the Museum to buy us out."
The buyout didn't interest the Museum Board, according to Jill, but they were interested in leasing the Chamber's area.
"We went back to the Board and said even though the Museum will not take over our interest, we still want to take the Draney's offer, which was a dollar a year. It would not cost us anything to move across the street, we could lease our area."
The board approved that move and a ten year lease was signed with the Draney's for one dollar a year, with an option to renew for two more 10 year leases.
The signing of the ten year contract, according to Jill, set Donna on a course for development with architect Alan Stomberg, but not without some problems.
"They found a few things underground they weren't expecting," Jill says. "Besides the foundation for the existing gas station, there was actually a foundation for another gas station below that."
Add that slope problem and they spent a lot of time and money just moving dirt around. "That was quite a bit of ground to move."
Once above the dirt, building contstruction started moving fast. At this writing the sidewalks and the street parking was almost complete, the Chamber was completely moved in, and Jill was beginning to look toward the future.
"If just the first week proves anything about the numbers of people who are interested, we have made the right choice," Jill says.
"Even with having only part of the access tape off we have been inundated. We have locals who want to see what's going on and a lot of people getting off the bus across the street coming over."
Jill jokes about the sub-surface office in the Hotel where the only windows were to the back patio and all they could see were people's feet as they walked by.
"We can actually be more support to the Hotel and other hotels by being more visable. Once we get set up like a visitors center and less like an office we will be more valuable."
One of the problems Jill deals with is having the Chamber office in downtown. She answers by saying most of the people turn at the stop light before reaching down town. She says that seven out of ten cars don't make it to the down town area because they can't see around the bend and don't realize there is another part of the city.
Relocating outside of the Hotel will help the Chamber service more of their members needs as well as provide a better information center for travelers and tourist.