County OKs bank building deal

WARREN – Trumbull County will sell bonds worth $800,000 to finance the $750,000 purchase of the downtown Warren building formerly known as First Place Bank, which county commissioners intend to use as offices for employees now in the declining Wean Building.

Commissioners on Thursday OK’d the purchase agreement for the property at the corner of East Market Street and Pine Avenue N.E. and for several smaller pieces of land that combined is a parking lot between Pine and Vine avenues, and other lot space behind the bank building.

”It’s a good building, there is a lot of parking,” Commissioner Paul Heltzel said. ”Everybody who works downtown wants parking. It’s going to work out real well.”

The $750,000 is about half of the appraised value of the properties, making the purchase a ”good deal” for the county, Heltzel said.

Trumbull County is buying the properties from Michigan-based Talmer Bank and Trust, whose parent company, Talmer Bancorp, completed the consolidation of First Place Bank into Talmer Bank and Trust earlier this month.

Talmer will pay the $37,200 in back taxes on the properties.

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 an existing drive-up window – the bank’s most active drive-through window in Trumbull County, Heltzel said. The lease agreement is for 10 years.

The bond proceeds leftover from the sale will be used to pay other expenses, like title work that was done and maybe some minor improvements to the inside of the building. Heltzel said First Place ”maintained it pretty well.”

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 county Recorder Diana Marchese’s office and other offices.