Lakeland Realtors Celebrates Ribbon Cutting Of New Building
by James Coulter
Nestled along Orange Street in Downtown Lakeland is a grey summer home. Wrapped around both of its floors is a white veranda, upon which sit several white porch chairs.
Taking a seat upon these chairs and under the veranda’s shade not only offers a momentary reprieve from the Florida sun, but also offers a scenic view of the surrounding downtown area.
Right across the street grow the lush green Hollis Gardens and stands the tall and stately Magnolia House. Beyond both locations shimmer the waters of Lake Mirror, with the Lakeland Terrace Hotel standing tall in the far distance.
At the right time of day, one can almost see the setting sun reflecting upon the far off lake’s waters, hear the bird calls of roosting ducks and swans, and also hear the cry of a train as it pulls into the distant station.
This house serves as the new location for Lakeland Realtors, and it’s this very location, within the heart of downtown, that seems like a fitting place for a business that has helped provide real estate for the surrounding area.
Lakeland Realtors celebrated the opening of their new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, hosted by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and attended by the Lakeland Mayor, Bill Mutz, who cut the ribbon for the ceremony.
More than three dozen local business people and chamber members gathered within the new location to enjoy some light refreshments as they toured the inside of the building, now serving as the new headquarters of Lakeland Realtors.
Previously, their former offices resided at 820 S. Florida Avenue since the 1970s, within an old building that had been constructed within the 1950s. Their old location had since been purchased by Florida Southern College.
The proceeds from that purchase were used to buy the new building, which had been constructed by architects that reside right next door, explained Barbara Barnes, Chief Executive Officer.
The 6,000 square foot building offer a much roomier and modern facility that utilizes the latest technology. This includes an upstairs classroom that seats 48 people and which will be used to host seminars and classes.
“We are excited to be here in the heart of our community,” Barnes said. “We have the latest technology here, [and] it is in a lovely setting right across the street from Hollis Gardens.”
Currently, the new building will be staffed by five employees. The realtor association consists of 1,100 realtor members and 150 affiliate members from mortgage companies and other local businesses and organizations.
Lakeland Realtors serves as a conduit between the public and real estate industry, helping to settle disputes and other matters of business between them, Barnes explained.
“If someone has a problem with one of our members, we help resolve one of their issues,” she said. “Our primary goal is to educate our members to bring them the latest in technology to give them the best business.”
While the real estate industry suffered following the housing market crash and economic recession, the industry has since taken a turn for the better.
With better business comes the need for better office facilities to help provide that business, which is why the realtor association has relocated its own facilities, Barnes said.
“We are happy to be here in the heart of our city,” she said. “The real estate market has turned around….The economy is recovering, the real estate market is thriving, and our membership is growing.”
Janice Tedder Jones, a member of the Lakeland Chamber Board of Directors, mentioned how the new building, being within the downtown area, helps exemplify the contributions the association has made for the surrounding area.
“We are thankful for the contribution you make to the community, not only from a business perspective…but from a community standpoint,” she said. “The contribution you make really affects everyone around here.”
Lakeland Realtors is located at 619 E Orange Street in Lakeland. For more information, visit their website at: http://www.lakelandrealtors.org/