GARY | A $2.5 million project aimed at bringing a bank back to downtown Gary faced a setback last week, but is still going forward.
Hobart-based developer Gateway Partners LLC has bought the 10-story Gary State Bank building and plans to rehabilitate the historic tower, in order to accommodate the branch of a Northwest Indiana community bank. The Gary Economic Development Corp. voted 2-2 last week on a plan to create a tax-increment financing district that would help finance the project. The proposal to use property tax dollars to pay off construction work failed because of the deadlocked vote.
Commission members want more information about the proposal, and could hold as special meeting to review additional information as soon as this week, said J. Forest Hayes, Gary's Director of Commerce and Economic Development. A team working on the project hopes to win the support of all five commission members.
"The City of Gary remains 100 percent committed to the deal which would result in the redevelopment of the Gary State Bank Building and make way for a top-tier regional bank to return to downtown Gary for the first time since 2008," Hayes said. "We have every confidence that Gateway Partners can deliver the project while using a majority of Gary subcontractors and construction workers during the construction phase."
Vance Kenney, a Gateway managing partner, said the developer would press ahead with plans to breath new life into the century-old 10-story bank tower, which is the second tallest building in the city after Gary Manor.
"Gateway remains steadfast in developing the property as we have outlined and planned," Kenney said.
The developer plans to tear down three adjoining buildings to south of the Gary State Bank tower at 506 Broadway to clear room for a two-lane bank drive-thru, an off-street parking lot and park-like green space. Extension renovations would include refurbished facades, upgraded mechanical systems and a modernization of the bank interior.
Chase Bank most recently occupied the building's first floor at 5th Avenue and Broadway, but closed the branch in 2008.