A new home for the Durango Chamber of Commerce took a step toward reality at the Design Review Board meeting Wednesday.
The board praised and unanimously approved the building planned to replace the 800-square-foot A-frame at 2490 Main Ave. in Brookside Park, previously home to La Plata Youth Services.
“This is uniquely appropriate for this site ... it’s a brilliant solution,” board member Carolyn Hunter said. The building will not face further public review or votes.
The Chamber was displaced from Santa Rita Park by construction at the sewage treatment plant. It is temporarily housed in the Bank of Colorado building on Main Avenue.
The city of Durango agreed to pay the Chamber $400,000 for its building and $150,000 to cover the cost of rent and other expenses, said Jack Llewellyn, executive director of the Chamber, in a previous interview. As part of the agreement, the city has the option to buy the Chamber’s new building after 30 years, he said
Construction of the new building on city property could start in the spring, he said. The proposed 2,700-square-foot building will be angled so that it faces southeast down north Main Avenue, and the back of the building will be adjacent to the parking lot.
The orientation of the building will preserve the memorial trees on the north side of the lot and avoids a sewer main that crosses the property, architect Elizabeth Boone of Reynolds Ash and Associates told the board. The front door will face Main Avenue, and visitors will enter the lobby of the building through that door.
To help relieve some congestion in front of the building, a Durango Transit stop may be relocated to the other side of the driveway, she said.
The new building was inspired by the A-frame that it will replace, and it will have some exposed structural trusses, Boone said.
It will house offices and a boardroom that will open out onto a patio facing Junction Creek. It is not planned to replace the Welcome Center previously housed at the Chamber’s building in Santa Rita, which was operated by the Durango Tourism Office.
The lobby will have some brochure racks, but the Chamber plans to direct visitors to the Welcome Center downtown, Llewellyn said.
The A-frame is undergoing asbestos mitigation, and it may be demolished in early January, Planning Manager Scott Shine said.
The city is also open to someone relocating the building, he said.