Partners in Progress Moving to Razook's Building in Pinehurst
Moore County Partners in Progress appears on the verge of moving its offices to the Razook’s building in downtown Pinehurst to take advantage of the 2014 U.S. Opens at nearby Pinehurst No. 2.
“It positions us for the next three years,” said Pat Corso, executive director of Partners in Progress, the county’s economic development organization. “We would be strategically located. We see it as an opportunity.”
Partners has been in the Moore County Chamber of Commerce building on U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines since its inception in 2002, along with the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Partners is not trying to diffuse any synergy created over the past decade by having the three entities in the same building, Corso said.
“These are different times with different challenges,” he said. “We have to figure out how to position ourselves to be effective, so this move makes sense. We don’t see it as a permanent commitment. Down the road, it may be advantageous for us to move back. None of us knows how long it will be.”
Corso added that a two-year lease with an option to renew is currently being reviewed by Pinehurst attorney John May, who serves on the Partners board of directors and is a former chairman.
Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Chamber, said he has received no official notice from Partners.
“We’re waiting for word from them,” Coughlin said. “Obviously, the Chamber is disappointed to see them leaving because we think there’s such a great synergy of organizations. We’re just going to have to work all the harder as partners to make sure that continues in the future.”
Coughlin said there are no immediate plans to lease the 436 square feet of space currently occupied by Partners.
“We’re not going to jump the gun,” he said. “However, we will look at all possibilities. Things are very tough for businesses right now. But if there’s a philosophical fit with another organization and it makes sense for both of us, we’ll certainly consider that.”
Coughlin believes there’s a strong possibility that the entities will be reunited in the future.
“We remain hopeful that that will continue to be their desire,” he said. “We’re very sad to see the partnership take a temporary hiatus. We will still work together, but the proximity gives you a lot of unplanned opportunities. That’s what we’re going to miss by not having Partners in Progress in the building.”
Corso, who spent 17 years as CEO of Pinehurst Resort, said he hopes the move is viewed “as a positive thing” and not perceived as “Pat is going back to his comfort zone.”
“I certainly don’t want to stir up any controversy, and I don’t think the move does,” Corso said. “If we had the same opportunity in downtown Southern Pines, we’d do it. We’re going to be in the right location for this right time.”
Partners board Chairman Fred Hobbs said the organization wanted a downtown location, whether it be in Pinehurst, Southern Pines or Aberdeen.
“It’s been a process that we’ve purposely tried to be judicious about and seek everyone’s input. We’re not picking one municipality over another,” Hobbs said. “Razook’s came to the forefront, mainly for budgetary purposes. We’ve got significantly reduced rent for the first year, less-than-market-rate for the second year and an option for a third year.
“It’s a very attractive office location. I think it will make a good first impression on recruits.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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