Iconic Gary bank building sold, redevelopment planned
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/302-0949 March 3, 2014 5:58PM
A local development group is purchasing old Gary State Bank, a historic building at 5th and Broadway in downtown Gary, and plans to redevelop the site to lure new businesses. | Post-Tribune File Photo
Updated: April 5, 2014 6:27AM
GARY — A local development firm has purchased the 10-story Gary State Bank building and is making plans to turn it into a long-sought downtown anchor featuring a Northwest Indiana bank. The undisclosed purchase price includes an adjacent 350-car parking garage.
Gateway Partners LLC, based in Hobart, bought the iconic bank building at 504 Broadway Feb. 24 from EFN Gary Property LLC, headed by Edward Napleton, an auto dealer who’s owned it since 1999.
Gary resident Vance R. Kenney, managing partner of Gateway Partners, said Monday the project is being launched in conjunction with the Gary Economic Development Corporation, which is holding a 10 a.m. meeting Wednesday to consider the approval of $2.5 million in bonds for improvements to the building. Kenney said he’ll also seek Historic and New Markets tax credits.
At the 6 p.m. City Council meeting Tuesday, Kenney said he’ll seek approval to establish a tax increment finance district at the bank to capture tax money to be used to improve the property. The council will hold first reading on the TIF and likely will refer it to its finance committee.
Kenney, who’s vice president of the Gary Sanitary Board of Commissioners, said he plans to ask the city to donate vacant properties it owns from 520 to 540 Broadway to be razed for parking, a plaza and a two-lane drive-through for the bank.
Kenney hopes to convince Fagen Pharmacy to remain as a tenant by updating and renovating the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The exterior façade and windows will be refurbished.
Kenney said the bank was built more than 100 years ago, nearly coinciding with the founding of the city. He plans to seek approval to list the bank on the U.S. National Historic Registry.
In its early years, the bank won the business of U.S. Steel and many of its thousands of steel mill workers. White marble covers the lobby floors and its walls.
It’s been home to several banks, including Gary National Bank, Gainer Bank and most recently Chase Bank, which left in 2008.
In 2012, Napleton offered to donate the building to the Gary Community School Corp., which planned to move its central administration to the site. Two board members strongly objected to the move, however, and the deal fell through.
A short time later, the GEO Foundation, which operates charter schools in the city, expressed interest in the site but that deal never materialized.
Tax records show the building’s 2012 assessed valuation at $1.17 million. Its tax bill last year was $38,776.