The South Shore Chamber of Commerce will leave its office of 50 years after selling its Quincy building for $690,000 to a local accounting firm.
Located on Miller Stile Road, the aging 9,900-square-foot building needed too much work for the organization to handle, and was also too large and strangely laid out to serve long-term needs, said chamber President Peter Forman.
“It was a financial decision about five years ago to get out of property ownership and get into something that would be smaller, a little more efficient for professional office space,” Forman said.
The structure of the regional business organization has also changed since the chamber bought the building decades ago.
The chamber has grown too large for a centralized location, Forman said, and it made less sense to have a single space for regional meetings.
Instead, a new, smaller office will house employees of the chamber, with meetings to occur at any of the 1,200 locations of chamber members throughout the South Shore.
“We had a pretty large dedicated space and use of the building mostly for chamber meetings, not for working staff, and there’s just less need for central meeting location for the chamber as our membership grows further south and a little west,” Forman said. “With chambers being regional, we are out in the field and with our members.”
While the building has been on the market for half a decade, prospective buyers didn’t start coming forward until seven months ago.
Even with the flurry of activity, the chamber didn’t want to sell to a buyer that would potentially tear the structure down.
When Hurley O’Neill & Co., a Quincy CPA firm, began looking at the property, Forman said, it made sense.
“They are right up the street, are longtime chamber members, and they are going to be putting some money back into the building and occupying it themselves. It’s a nice solution for everybody,” he said.
The purchase price of $690,000 was well below the assessed value of $1.1 million. The chamber can stay in the space as late as June 1, and has begun looking for new spaces in earnest.
The chamber will likely stay in the same area, and are focusing their search on Quincy, Braintree, and Weymouth.
“For practical purposes, these will be temporary quarters,” Forman said. “We’re looking to make an interim move in three to five years and probably in another three to five years take a harder look at what the physical space needs are of the chamber, possible location, and reopen the issue of whether or not we want to be owning property or continue to rent.”