Building for leaase
AVAILABLE SPACE The former Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center at 217 Healdsburg Ave. has sat empty since the beginning of 2024, and the city is now opening bids for its rental or lease.

The City of Healdsburg has a place for the right business, either commercial or nonprofit, with a desire for a public-facing location close to the heart of town.

The two-story Mediterranean-style cottage at 217 Healdsburg Ave., which for years served as the public walk-in presence of the Chamber of Commerce, is for rent. Though small—it’s less than 700 square feet, 347 on the ground floor—its location could not be better for the right customer: Next door to the H2Hotel and a block’s walk from the Plaza.

The city is seeking proposals from commercial business operators or nonprofits interested in leasing the property, City Manager Jeff Kay recently announced. Since the city owns the building, applicants need to contact the city at to download an RFP (Request for Proposal) to begin the application process.

The small building has served as the Chamber’s walk-in information center for at least 50 years, with brochures, maps and personal guidance from a Chamber volunteer or staffer. In 2011 the Chamber moved its headquarters to a back office at the H2Hotel next door, though it maintained the public Visitor’s Center on limited hours until December, when it was closed.

Presently, the Chamber resides in a public office behind the former Visitors Center, in the H2H building, at 219A Healdsburg Ave., where a rack with visitor services brochures is available. The office is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm, though most of its visitor information services can be accessed through the portal.

At the most recent City Council meeting, long-time resident Valerie White encouraged the council to rent the property at the going retail rates, rather than cut a deal with a local group. “There is no way any group could offer benefits to the community that would equal the revenue that the city could obtain and use for projects,” she stated during the meeting’s Public Comment period. “Some groups say they benefit the community, but in my opinion it primarily benefits them.”

She said that based on conversations with local real estate agents, the going rate for downtown properties is $4 to $6 per square foot. She calculated that at $4 a square foot rent would calculate out to $2,800 a month, $33,600 a year or $336,000 over 10 years. “Please don’t give this building away by not charging commercial real estate values,” she concluded. 

“We do have a methodology for determining rent,” said Tyler Kettman, Central Services manager for the city. “It is our feeling that relative interest in the property will help determine the rental rate, and we have not established a set rate to encourage participation in the RFP from all interested parties.”

Added Kettman, “The RFP process will be used to determine relative interest in the property and evaluate and rank proposals. Proposals should include a requested rental rate, but in no way does this bind the city to that rate.”

The RFP process is currently open, with July 17 as the published deadline for applications. Kettman said, “Based on the response we plan to bring top ranked proposals to City Council for consideration in August.”

One thing the building will not be used for is as a tasting room. Current city zoning allows only one winery tasting room per block face in the downtown area; Rockpile Vineyards is located directly across the street and Siduri Wine Bar is located at 241 Healdsburg Ave.

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


  1. Why does the city own this building? Sell it to a private owner. Is the city now going into the real estate rental business as well as the EV charging business? Is either one any of the city’s business?

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