Tampa chamber returning to city's downtown core from Channelside with leaner staff
Wake up and good morning. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce set up shop years ago in the new Channelside retail complex to help show solidarity and confidence in the push to make Tampa's port area a gathering place for Floridians.
That era is over. Now the Chamber's on the move again and will return to downtown Tampa to be closer to where its key members and the city and county political forces work. The Chamber plans to move into 10,000 square feet of space once occupied by the GTE/Verizon media center on the second floor of the Tampa City Center (photo right, below, by Ken Helle of the St. Petersburg Times.) If you're coming up the main escalators, the space is in front of you, and to the left. If you are entering the building from the second floor connector from the adjacent Fort Brooke parking garage, it will be immediately on your right as you step into the building.
Chamber chief Bob Rohrlack (photo above) admits he never liked the chamber's Channelside space. The chamber moves in April and plans a grand opening in May. In addition, Rohrlack says the chamber will soon unveil a revamped Web site that will be more aggressive in "celebrating the successes" of Tampa.
At the same time, the chamber is trimming its staff. Five of 24 positions were cut, including some folks in business development. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported the layoffs though no one was identified.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist