GARY — With glittering candles and a jazz band playing in the mezzanine, city and business leaders came together to celebrate the new look of the 107-year-old Gary State Bank building.
Gateway Partners LLC of Hobart is repurposing the old bank’s lobby into a venue for receptions and parties, and Centier Bank is leasing the south end of the building, 504 Broadway, for a new bank branch that will have a drive-up window and parking and is expected to open next summer.
Funding for the demolition and construction is coming from $2.8 million in revenue bonds issued by the city.
Phase II of the project will include a data center called the South Shore Technology Center on the building’s upper five floors, said developer Vance Kenney, of Gateway Partners.
“Gary has some great infrastructure,” Kenney said in reference to fiber optic cable lines that run along 5th Avenue and Broadway. “That will make the data center attractive to tenants.”
The second phase has about a 15-month timeline and includes tearing down a parking garage west of the bank. In its place, Kenney said, a “power” building will be constructed that will contain a dual feed from two NIPSCO substations.
“This is an ideal location for a data center,” said J. Forest Hayes, executive director of the Gary Economic Development Commission, adding that the center would store data in a secure setting.
Meanwhile, guests at the reception marveled at the ornate design of the bank, munched on crab cakes and sipped wine.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said her first law office was in what is now the coat room in the lobby.
“This building is reflective of what many would call a renaissance in downtown Gary,” she said.
Michael Schrage, president and chief executive of Centier Bank, said he wants to see the Broadway corridor once again become vibrant.
“This is the center of Northwest Indiana and always will be,” he said.