In 2017, Marion’s National Bank building landed on Indiana Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list, vacant and vandalized, with a leaking roof that damaged plaster ceilings on the upper floors and destabilized the building’s ornate terra cotta cornice, sending chunks falling to the sidewalk. The exposure kick-started an inspiring transformation of property and a local economic boost.
Architect Michael Halstead looked past the damage and decay at the distressed property and instead focused on the landmark’s architectural grandeur and revitalization potential, seeing an opportunity to set a precedent for additional investment in the city.
Built in 1917, the seven-story building anchors the corner of Washington and Fourth streets in Marion’s downtown National Register-listed historic district. Sheathed in white glazed terra cotta, with an ornate entry and cornice, the Classical Revival building shows the design influence of famed Chicago skyscrapers constructed in the early twentieth century. On the main floor, a vaulted ceiling supported by massive classical columns soared over hand painted murals and massive bronze light fixtures.
Halstead purchased the property earlier this year, with plans to reinvent the former bank building as Ridley Tower, a mix of market-rate housing and professional and retail space.
The full-scale renovation began this summer, with crews installing a new roof and repairing damaged terra cotta. Inside, Halstead plans to carefully preserve the remarkably intact bank lobby, including its ornate teller cages and terrazzo floors. In the basement, the fully intact vault with its complex security door will be converted into a unique conference room space. The $7 million renovation is utilizing federal historic tax credits.
As restoration continues to move forward, potential tenants are already beginning to line up. F.C. Tucker Realty Center jumped at the chance to be located in the historic building. The company will also be managing leasing for the entire building as other spaces become available.
In early October, Halstead partnered with local economic development group Grant County Economic Growth Council to host Community Pitch Night to attract local entrepreneurs who vied for a chance to win free retail space for a year in the finished building. The three winning contestants include a barbeque restaurant, an art gallery, and a physical therapy office.
To learn more about the project, contact Paul Hayden, director of the Northeast Field Office at 260-563-7094, email@example.com.
Stay up to date on the latest news, stories, and events from Indiana Landmarks, around the state or in your area.