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Gary to announce plans for downtown bank tower
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Gary to announce plans for downtown bank tower

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Plans to redevelop Gary's second-tallest building hit a setback in September when asbestos was discovered in neighboring properties that are being torn down, but the city is now ready to make an announcement about the project.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Centier Bank Chief Executive Officer Mike Shrage plan to highlight progress on the redevelopment plans for the 10-story Gary State Bank building at 504 Broadway at a reception Monday.

Centier will open a branch in the office tower, which was purchased earlier this year by Hobart-based developer Gateway Partners LLC. The Merrillville-based bank will move into the space vacated by Fagan Pharmacy, when it relocated to a strip mall farther south on Broadway earlier this year. Chase left the building in 2008.

Vance Kenney, of Gateway, planned a $2.5 million rehabilitation of the century-old tower at Broadway and 5th Ave., which was 80 percent vacant when he purchased it. His company was demolishing long-vacant buildings next door to make way for a drive-through that he said is essential for a modern-day bank branch.

But the razing got delayed when contractors came across asbestos that wasn't found in the initial inspection, but that must be removed before the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will clear the way for demo work to resume.

Kenney, Forest Hayes of the Gary Economic Development Corp. and other community leaders also will participate in the reception to learn about the progress that's taken place.

At 142 feet tall, the Gary State Bank building is the second tallest in the Steel City, after the 12-story, 157-foot-tall Gary Manor apartments tower.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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