Convention and Visitors Bureau May Move Offices from CIRA

Image credit: Christian Prenzler for AdaptBN

Image credit: Christian Prenzler for AdaptBN

The Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) did not renew its lease at the Central Illinois Regional Airport before the agreement expired. The CVB has occupied office space in the airport terminal building since 2001.

CIRA Executive Director Carl Olson said CVB board members voted not to approve a new lease agreement with the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority (BNAA) at their January 9th meeting. The BNAA Board of Commissioners would have considered the agreement at their regular meeting that afternoon. Members voted to table the agreement until after CVB board members meet again in March.

Some CVB board members believe a more public, storefront location would allow the CVB to better accommodate walk-in customers, Olson said.

The airport authority will lease the space to the CVB on a 30-day basis until a new agreement is in place. In the meantime Olson says he will continue conversations with CVB board members.

“They are a tremendous organization, they do a tremendous job, and we have tremendous relations with them, and we don’t want to do anything to weaken that,” said Olson.

The proposed lease agreement includes a 5-year term with a 3-year renewal option and a 4% rate increase. It also waives fees included in the previous lease agreement for parking and use of CIRA’s conference rooms for meetings.

CVB board members expressed concern about the length of the proposed lease agreement, seeking a shorter term and greater flexibility to leave the lease. Olson said he would consider a shorter lease term at a higher rate.

“I think we’ve created a very attractive offer, but their board would like to see something more,” said Olson.

Olson said he wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to fill the space if the CVB decides to relocate. “We’ve never actively tried to lease office space because we’ve always had tenants in the building, so this would be a new experience for us.”

Olson estimated the airport received between $24,000 and $25,000 in annual revenue from the most recent lease agreement with the CVB.