Rehoboth officials agree on chamber lease agreement

April 20, 2017

Rehoboth Beach officials and representatives from the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce have agreed on the terms of a lease agreement that would see the chamber take over the city-owned facility at 306 Rehoboth Ave.

The 10-year deal with a five-year option will be sealed at the commissioners’ Friday, April 21 workshop. The chamber will pay $40,000 a year in rent, with 2 percent increases every year over the life of the lease.

The agreement allows the chamber to take over the building after the current occupants, Rehoboth’s building and licensing and information technology departments, vacate the building for new digs at the new City Hall building, likely to be at the beginning of 2018. The lease allows for the chamber’s new rent total to kick in on Jan. 1, 2018, and provides them 45 days to vacate their old building next to the Rehoboth Beach Museum once the city’s departments are out. The city also owns the chambers current building.

The city would be responsible for maintaining the exterior of the building, including the change machine out front, while the chamber would be responsible for interior maintenance. The chamber will continue to maintain the Visitor’s Center at Grove Park, although the lease for that property will be folded into the new lease for the building at 306 Rehoboth Ave. Any alterations the chamber wishes to make to the building at 306 Rehoboth must be vetted by the city. Mayor Sam Cooper said the lease is being undertaken with the understanding that the city could sell the property at any time, although he added that the city has no intention of selling the land and hoped the city would never sell it.

The commissioners were all unanimous in their praise of the chamber as a tenant, saying the move is a good fit for the city and the chamber. Commissioner Kathy McGuiness said the new building will provide increased visibility for the chamber, while Commissioner Stan Mills offered his support by saying the chamber is a known entity. Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber President and CEO Carol Everhart said the arrangement is a perfect match.

Commissioner Lorraine Zellers said, “It’s a good fit. I’m not in favor of selling it. This is someone we know who cares about the city.”