City Looking to Rent Empty Bank Building

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana www.thecouriertimes.com

City looking to rent empty bank building

Posted: Friday, March 24, 2017 6:00 am

The City of New Castle is hoping to find new tenants for a building that was home to a downtown bank until 2015, and the city’s redevelopment commission has officially endorsed efforts to find short-term tenants while efforts to sell it continue.

Ameriana Savings Bank called 1311 Broad St. home until the facility was closed following a merger with First Merchants. The new owners gave the building to the city, and on May 19, 2016 it became property of the New Castle City of Department Redevelopment (aka the New Castle Redevelopment Commission).

At this week’s meeting of the redevelopment commission (RDC), New Castle Mayor Greg York said he has been contacted by a developer interested in purchasing a small part of the former bank. Another party has approached the mayor with an interest in renting about 75 percent of the structure. The mayor said he has researched rent prices for similar structures in comparable locations in other communities and asked RDC members for their thoughts regarding whether or not parts of the building should be rented while efforts to sell the entire building continue.

Board member James Millikan said he was glad there is interest in the building and board member William Aitchison agreed.

“An occupied building is much more preferable than an empty building,” Aitchison said.

The mayor said the city has been trying to find a buyer for the building since it took ownership. City attorney Dave Copenhaver added that the mayor would like the option to continue to market the building in the hopes someone will buy it and put it to use, but if a buyer wasn’t forthcoming anytime soon, to rent it and/or possibly find other uses for it.

Copenhaver said perhaps part of the building could be used as a new business incubator space in order to keep it occupied and rented until a buyer can be found. The mayor added that part of it might also accommodate a large conference room.

Aitchison asked if the building was in good shape and the mayor said it is structurally sound and its mechanical systems are operational, although an elevator in the building is suspect. York also said that while the building has been minimally heated through the winter, finding an occupant is desirable to it being empty.

“The problem with central Indiana is that you can’t let it go through very many winters without occupancy or it catches up with you,” York said, adding that so far interest has been expressed in portions of the building, but not in the entire structure. The mayor said he did not prefer selling it off “in pieces,” that he would rather rent to parties interested in all or part of it. “If we do find a buyer, we’d love to be able to entertain selling the whole thing off.”

Millikan agreed an occupant of some kind, even if it’s just a renter, is better than nothing.

“The more occupied it is the less it’s subject to vandalism or deterioration,” he said. “I’m all for having people in there.”

Following additional discussion, Millikan made a motion authorizing the mayor to proceed with renting all or portions of the building on a short-term basis and to continue efforts to find a buyer. That motion passed unanimously.

The New Castle Redevelopment Commission meets as needed at 8 a.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building, 227 N. Main St. The meetings are open to the public.