Bank offering soon-displaced downtown Glenwood tenants relocation help
Downtown Glenwood Springs businesses that stand to be displaced by plans for a new bank building in the 900 block of Grand Avenue are being offered relocation assistance, according to the local ANB Bank president.
That assistance is in the form of free rent starting this past June 1 through May of next year, as well as cash payments for time remaining, should an affected business find a place to move in the meantime, said Randy Diers, community bank president for ANB Bank in Glenwood.
“We have been listening … and as a result we pushed our timeline back,” Diers said Monday of concerns expressed by tenants — as well as community criticism in general — about the displacement of seven mostly retail businesses that now lease space in the century-old building at 910 Grand Ave.
“Basically, it’s relocation assistance,” Diers said. “We’re also refunding full security deposits, and giving them the opportunity to remove any fixtures or improvements that they may have put in place.”
Architects for what is planned to be a brand new, 9,428-square-foot, two-story ANB Bank facility — replacing two existing, adjoined structures dating back to 1917 — go before the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night.
The new bank would replace ANB’s existing facility on South Grand Avenue at 27th Street. That building will be sold, Diers said.
This spring, several tenants expressed concerns that the new bank building would come at the expense of what they viewed as prime retail storefront space in the 900 block of Grand, between the White River National Forest headquarters and Vicki Lee Green Realtors.
That, as well as concerns about the loss of a historic downtown structure, prompted an online petition that by Tuesday afternoon had generated more than 5,000 signatures.
The P&Z meeting is expected to be attended by many of those who have weighed in on the issue. But the application itself is pretty straightforward in terms of meeting the downtown zoning and design requirements for a new commercial building.
No city code variances are being requested, and planning staff is recommending approval of the building project, with a few conditions.
One recommendation from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission does call for an inventory of any “significant artifacts or architectural elements” to be done by the city during demolition of the building.
To preserve that history, the commission also asked that the bank consider incorporating any of the salvaged architectural elements from the original buildings into the exterior design of the new building. And, the bank should “consider including a photo display of the original building in the bank’s interior.”
ANB Bank purchased the building in October 2018 and began informing tenants soon after that time that there had been a change of ownership, and later that they would need to make plans to vacate the building by the end of this year. That timeline has been moved forward into the middle of next year, Diers said.
“We are hopeful that, with the assistance we have offered, they will be able to find new locations,” Diers said of the affected businesses, which include KC’s Wing House & Sports Bar, Jewels & Gems, Bellini’s Fashion, Glenwood Spa and Nails, Tesseract Comics and Games, CPA Services Pro and the Glenwood Escape Room.
One of those businesses, the Glenwood Escape Room, operated by Glenwood Adventure Co., has already found a new location, according to owner Ken Murphy. The business is planning to relocate just across the alley to a building on Cooper Avenue, next to the downtown parking garage, he said.
The Escape Room — which offers different rooms for groups of people to use clues and solve puzzles in order to escape — won’t move out of the current location until Oct. 31, Murphy said. But renovations will begin in the new space in September.
“We’ll have two new rooms, and will be opening up as soon as we’re out of the other facility,” he said. “The game has evolved since we first opened, and we need to be able to adapt and offer new games and technology.”
Diers said the second floor of the new bank building will be leased out for other commercial uses. But, given the second floor location, it would probably be more conducive to professional services, rather than retail operations, Diers said.
“We’re retailers, too, in that we are buyers and sellers of money,” he said. “Anything that brings people to a core area, and certainly banking does that, there are repetitive transactions as a result.
“We think it’s going to be a positive, ultimately, for the downtown,” Diers said of the planned new banking facility.
The plan also includes a larger parking lot on the south end of the new building that will be reserved for bank uses and other tenants during the day, but available for the public to use during non-business hours, he said.
Editor’s note: This story has been revised from the original version to include a detail about ANB Bank’s plan to sell its existing bank building when the new bank is built, as well as the latest signature count on the online petition.
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