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Tower could mean closure of bank

U.S. Bank confirms plan to close historic location in Hemingway District

December 4th, 2018 3:37 PM

Cashing out: The U.S. Bank branch at 104 N. Oak Park Ave. could close if a proposed development is approved at the bank's drive-thru location at 835 Lake St. | Photo by Timothy Inklebarger

By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

It could become a concert venue or a banquet hall or a shared workspace or a fitness studio, perhaps.

But it's unlikely that the cavernous U.S. Bank branch, 104 N. Oak Park Ave., will remain a bank forever.

Oak Park residents recently learned this from representatives of Golub & Company, which is proposing building a 28-story luxury apartment building on the site of the U.S. Bank drive-thru at 835 Lake St.

Golub senior vice president Michael Glazier told Oak Parkers at a public meeting on Nov. 26 that if the project is approved, the tower will include a new drive-thru U.S. Bank branch, and the location on North Oak Park Avenue will close.

U.S. Bank spokesman Evan Lapiska confirmed in an email the arrangement to close the bank branch on North Oak Park Avenue and include a new facility in the proposed tower if the deal goes through.

The closure might not happen any time soon. The developer is expected to submit its proposal to the village later this year and the approval process will begin in the first quarter of 2019. Completion of the building could be more than two years away.

U.S. Bank is the current financial services company operating in the historic bank building. In previous incarnations it was a Firstar Bank location, and a branch of First Colonial Bank. However, its history goes back to 1899 when it was founded as the locally owned Avenue Bank and Trust Company of Oak Park.  

Jim August, owner of the Irish Shop, 100 N. Oak Park Ave., and president of the Hemingway District, a business district that represents shops around Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street, said that when he opened his store 20 years ago there was often a "line out the door" to the bank.

These days, however, things are quiet at the bank, he said.

"I heard there might be the possibility of a fitness center in there," he said. "The other one I heard, and it's just talk, that there might be some kind of performance space there."

August said he has wondered how long it would remain a bank.

He hopes it becomes a performance venue, adding, "I think that would be a real big boost for Oak Park."

John Lynch, executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, which works to bring economic development to the village, said his group has not heard directly from U.S. Bank concerning its future plans with Golub. OPEDC has long had its offices on the second floor of the bank building.

OPEDC staff is aware that the bank is considering consolidating the two locations. "If that happens and they elect to move out of this location, we have no idea when that might be," Lynch said.

He said the location would be desirable for a number of different types of uses, though.

A performance hall with dining or an office or co-working space could work at the location. While preliminary, he said the organization would work to attract an appropriate use for the location.

tim@oakpark.com

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