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An Update on Our New Home

By Robert E. Harrington


In October, I wrote about the selection of the Greenway Business Center as the location for the new Bar & Foundation Center.  All along the process, the Bar Board of Directors has committed to keep our members apprised of our progress.


At long last and with eager anticipation, we are now very close to closing on the Greenway site.  Once the closing has occurred, we will start construction on our new Bar & Foundation Center. In the meantime, we are actively marketing the existing Bar & Foundation Center on Queens Road, a site we have owned and occupied since 1993.  Earlier this month, we closed on the sale of the property we owned on Luther Street, across from the current Bar & Foundation Center.  We hope to sell the Queens Road site soon.  Along these lines, in this edition of the newsletter, you will find an advertisement for the sale of the current Bar & Foundation Center. This building is a great place for a law firm or other professional firm.


When we purchased the current Bar & Foundation Center 20 years ago, the Bar had approximately 2,000 members and a staff of 10. Since then, our membership has expanded to more than 4,600, and our staff has grown, accordingly, to 19. This past fall, our judges swore-in approximately 180 new lawyers, and, as I noted in last month's column, lawyers continue to relocate to Mecklenburg County. In short, our Bar is growing, and the needs of the Bar continue to expand with our membership - and will do so into the future.


As I was preparing this column and thinking about our impending move, I found a column that past president Pat Kelly wrote about our current home. Pat remarked on the work that needed to be done at that time on the Bar Center and on our need to relocate.  In his column, Pat provided a list of things that were then awry at the center. We are pleased to say we have made the necessary repairs. We painted the outside and rewired the building. Our Queens Road building has never looked better. Yet, for all the repair work we have done, the building is still too small - approximately 6,000 square feet with 20 parking spaces. Our new Bar & Foundation Center will have more than 20,000 square feet and at least 150 parking spaces.


Those space criteria are the most general of outlines for the new facility.  In a Bar survey conducted five years ago, members told us that the two things they wanted most from the Bar were more Continuing Legal Education opportunities and more networking opportunities. In a recent series of focus groups convened by our Bar staff to discuss plans for the new facility, we heard similar requests. Our members want to spend time together learning, networking and conducting the business of the Bar. For CLEs, the new Bar & Foundation Center will offer larger and more modern space and much more parking - allowing us to avoid the additional costs and inconvenience of off-site CLEs. The new Center also will enable the Bar to provide our members with space for meetings, mediations and other events.  As Pat wrote in his column, space for our members to meet and mingle - to an extent not possible in our current facility - might just advance civility and camaraderie in our Bar.


Although the ground-breaking will not be for a few more months, our process moves along apace.  We have nailed down the new site, canvassed focus groups for details of the new facility, sold the Luther Street property and prepared and marketed the current Bar & Foundation Center for sale. If you or someone you know is looking for a lovely building in Myers Park, talk to us about this site.


We want to ensure when we move that we recognize the needs of our members and that the new facility satisfies those needs for many years to come. As always, we welcome - indeed, we depend on - your thoughts. 



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Upcoming MCB Events

8-6-15 Memorial Service for Henry N. Pharr II
Friends and colleagues are encouraged to attend and, if desired, say a few words in celebration of Mr. Pharr's life.

9-3-15 Lawyers' Luncheon Series
Join your colleagues at a regular monthly luncheon to eat, socialize and hear remarks from a speaker.

9-3-15 Memorial Service for J. Carlton Fleming
Friends and colleagues are encouraged to attend and, if desired, say a few words in celebration of Mr. Fleming's life.


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