Bank building sale may close

WARREN – Trumbull County is expected to close on the purchase of the building formerly known as First Place Bank and nearby parcels ”pretty quickly,” meaning sometime in the next two weeks, county Commissioner Paul Heltzel said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the county has been given permission to begin moving in shelving and storage materials into the East Market Street office building that will eventually house employees now working in the declining Wean Building on North Park Avenue.

”As far as the closing, that is going to depend on when we finalize the agreement,” which includes the title report, something that is ”pretty far along” to being completed, said Heltzel.

”We have to do our work on the bonds, we have to finish that up. That is probably 14 days,” Heltzel said.

Trumbull County is purchasing the building from Michigan-based Talmer Bancorp., which earlier this month completed the consolidation of First Place Bank into its Talmer Bank and Trust. The county will be selling bonds to finance the purchase, however, Heltzel declined to state the purchase price until the sale is final.

Included in the plan will be a stipulation for the new owners to lease back to Talmer part of the building’s first floor, allowing the bank to continue to operate a retail center with the existing drive-up window – one of the most active drive-through windows in Trumbull County, Heltzel said.

Heltzel said commissioners also wanted to continue to provide the drive-through service to bank customers.

The purchase lets commissioners get the employees out of the old Wean Building, something they’ve wanted to do for some time because of its poor condition and cost to operate, and keep those workers in downtown Warren.

The old Wean contains the Planning Commission, Building Department and Microfilm, Printing and Records department, which is part of Diana Marchese’s office and other offices.

Now, a space-use analysis is being done on the inside.

”We have an architect looking at the building, telling us where people should be and how many people can be there,” Heltzel said.

Commissioners sought bids for space to relocate the offices last year, but rejected them all because most, in some way, including the Gibson Building, which cost more than commissioners wanted to pay.

Subsequently, the City of Warren has agreed to buy the Gibson Building on East Market Street.