Hamilton County Tourism Inc. is considering a move from its location in the Carmel Arts & Design District as growth has created a need for more space.
Karen Radcliff, Hamilton County Tourism’s vice president and chief strategy officer, said the countywide organization, which is funded by hotel taxes, aims to hire a new employee every year as the county grows in population and tourism appeal. Recent offerings such as Grand Park in Westfield and The Palladium in Carmel have led to an increase in tourism dollars spent in Hamilton County.
“We are growing,” she said. “We have pretty much maximized the space. If we want to hire or put people on staff, then we are looking at a new space. It’s very apparent that if we want to grow we need to redesign our existing space or relocate.”
Radcliff said an expansion of the current space isn’t out of the question, but Hamilton County Tourism owns part of its space, a 4,500-square-foot, three-level building at 37 E. Main St. It also leases 500 square feet of adjacent office space.
With the growth of the Arts District, this building has likely increased in property value and could mean a significant return on investment if sold, she said.
Radcliff said the organization could relocate to another municipality in the county. The organization was founded in 1989 and opened an office in Noblesville in 1991 before moving to Fishers in 1996. After 10 years, they relocated to the space in Carmel.
Radcliff said the tourism world is changing, and the need for visitor centers has decreased as more people are planning their trips online. She said it’s possible that they could lease a space in an office park and set up kiosks or digital displays in prominent locations in each city. In Carmel, that could mean the All Things Carmel store in the Arts District.
“How can we give visitors information where they are needing it?” she said. “Maybe it’s in digital displays in the right locations.”
Decisions could be made in 2017 and a move could happen in 2018.