Charlotte Chamber unveils new digs

The Belk briefing room at 330 S. Tryon St.
The Belk briefing room at 330 S. Tryon St.

The Charlotte Chamber hosted senior executives from Chiquita Brands International in 2010 at its South Tryon Street headquarters. A month later when it came time to schedule a second meeting, this time with the CEO of the company, the chamber offered to host the meeting.

Chiquita asked for it to be held somewhere else.

“They said, you know, that space really doesn’t reflect the image of Charlotte that we’re trying to project. We’re going to do it elsewhere. And that hurt,” Chamber President Bob Morgan told the Observer Thursday morning after he guided members of the media through the refurbished Chamber offices at 330 S. Tryon St.

With the new office space, Morgan said “There’s an opportunity now to create a wow factor. They (prospects) may walk in the door not realizing how diverse Charlotte’s economy is. But this space reflects that diversity.”

The companies that make up that diversity were on full display throughout the building. The event began in Wells Fargo and Duke Energy board rooms, which can be combined into one by peeling back the walls. Just outside those doors, there’s a wall of flags of countries with companies that have a Charlotte footprint, ranked by the amount of investment. Germany is first, followed by the United Kingdom.

A sprawling staircase cut out of the ceiling is sponsored by Carolinas Healthcare System and the staff kitchen upstairs is sponsored by Electrolux. Next to the kitchen is the Novant Health balcony, complete with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina “greenspace” – putting green. Oh, and there’s a small conference room from the Carolina Panthers aptly named a “huddle room.”

The space isn’t all glass, however. There’s a wall-length mural by Ladianne Henderson called “Queen City Song,” a rendering of Charlotte’s skyline with roughly-sketched, black-edged, primary color dappled buildings.

The mural’s colors and irregular edges are there for a reason she said: “Life isn’t a tidy perfect package and cities aren’t either.”