Community Development planning to construct new bank building
In the not so distant future, a brand new bank building is proposed to be constructed in Hancock. The construction is nearly definite, however, the location is still not certain.
Community Development Bank manager Justin Cronen said that the bank is ready to take the step to begin construction on a new bank building and already has the floor plans and design ready. There are two options for sites, which is holding up the project to some degree.
Main street site
Cronen stated that CDB's first option for the new building would be on main street in Hancock. The bank is working with the City of Hancock to acquire three lots on the east side of main street that are owned by the city and another lot that the city is in the process of acquiring from the county. Two of the lots now hold the Hancock Senior Citizen Center, one lot is vacant and the final lot holds the former Hancock Upholstery building, which recently went back to the county for unpaid taxes.
The removal of this building is the stickler in the process. City attorney Neil Simonson recently approached the Stevens County Commissioners, who agreed to sell the building to the city for $1 pending any problems from the State of Minnesota. At a special meeting last week, the council passed a resolution that will set the process in motion.
However, another snag was thrown into the mix when the city learned that it would need an asbestos check, which it did, and found out that there was some asbestos in the building. The city now needs to wait to find out how much is there and how it will need to be removed. This information should be coming before April 19.
When this is known the city can obtain estimates from companies for the removal of the asbestos and building. Currently the council has discussed selling the lot to the bank for $15,000 but the lots must be bare. The removal of the buildings is estimated to cost around $27,000 with possible additional costs for the asbestos. Factoring in legal costs, the city would then have about $14,600 of expense not covered in the sale.
It was noted that currently no taxes are paid on any of these properties, and with the new bank building there would be taxes that could possibly cover any city expense in about four or five years.
If the main street site does not work out for the bank, it may be looking at another lot between the locker plant and Hwy. 9. Cronen added that the bank would prefer to keep the business downtown.
The new building will be almost a mirror image of the Community Development Bank in Ogema. The bank will be using the same architectural floor plan as that building. It will be 3,000 to 3,300 square feet with a drive-up window, probably on the alley side.
Cronen is hoping CDB can reuse the marble teller window island in the current bank in the new building. The decor can then be fashioned around this piece brought over from the former site.
The current bank building is owned by the FDIC, which gave Community Development Bank six months to decide if it wants to continue to lease the facility, purchase it or build new. The FDIC- owned portion does not include the new addition put on the bank several years ago that now houses an insurance agency. All former bank computer equipment in that portion has been moved to the old building.
With the tightened quarters, it was decided that a new building would be more feasible and the sooner it can be accomplished the better, as far as Community Development is concerned. The bank hope to continue to work with the City of Hancock to acquire the downtown property and perhaps be able to begin construction some time this summer or early fall.
Cronen said that he has been working closely with the city council, which is "bending over backwards" to make this work. All have the same goal in mind - to clear the property in the cheapest, fastest and best way possible.
The city council will also be working on a new site for the Senior Citizen Center. It wants to stress that there will be a new location for the center, hopefully one that is easier to access and more convenient to the public.