Tryon considers new lease on former Bravo building

Published 10:15 am Friday, August 19, 2011

Arrangement could mean move for town visitor center
The Town of Tryon is considering leasing the town-owned building adjacent to town hall to Brady/Trakas Architects, which could mean moving the town’s visitor center and trading out space for architectural services.
Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Aug. 16 and tabled a decision on leasing the building. The town is drafting an exact lease and still needs to discuss the possibility of relocating the visitor center, which is currently run by volunteers in town hall space.
The building formerly housed Bravo Interior Designs and before that was the Upstairs Gallery (now the Upstairs Artspace) for many years.
Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree said the town was approached by architect Dean Trakas after Bravo Interior Designs moved out of the town-owned building. Hembree said Trakas asked if the town had any interest in sharing the space, which is larger than Brady/Trakas needs.
One of the options mentioned is the town’s need to have a better location to serve as its visitor center, Hembree said. Hembree said the front of the building could be used as a place for people to come in and receive maps and activities in the town and also a place to display artwork and historical photographs the town currently keeps at town hall. Brady/Trakas could be located in the rear of the building.
Brady/Trakas has requested as part of the lease the town allow the architects to use space upstairs to store archival files.
Hembree also said there’s the possibility that the town could use Brady/Trakas’ architectural services as part of the lease agreement. Hembree specifically mentioned the need to draw plans for town hall renovations.
Council members said they are interested in working out an agreement, but mayor pro-tem Austin Chapman, who ran Tuesday’s meeting in Mayor Alan People’s absence, said he has concerns regarding moving the visitor’s center as it could create a situation where the town needs additional volunteer man hours at the center. The town’s visitor’s center is currently manned about two days per week with a volunteer.
“I think it’s definitely worth pursuing,” said councilman Wim Woody. “It’s more accessible from the sidewalk so I think it would be beneficial for tourism.”
Hembree said moving the visitor’s center would not make or break the deal, it’s simply something to consider.
Trakas attended the meeting and said the reason the architects are interested in leasing the building is a combination of its wonderful location and finances. He said his office doesn’t need much space, so shared uses are possible. He said the town’s office would be more user-friendly and accessible. Brady/Trakas is currently located in an upstairs office on Trade Street downtown.
Town council tabled discussions and could come back next month with a drafted lease, including specifics and rent prices.

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