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FirstBank signs lease for Five Points Post Office Building

LEFT: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore signed the lease between the city and FirstBank for the Post Office Building at Five Points.

FirstBank’s Ed Cagle had a vision. As a downtown Franklin resident he always wanted to work at a community bank in his backyard.

This vision led Cagle to make a phone call to Gordon Inman about the possibility of establishing a downtown location for FirstBank.

“I told Gordon, that I found his new downtown branch and he needs to come take a look.” Inman is chairman of FirstBank and a longtime Franklin banker.

FirstBank and the city of Franklin signed a 20-year lease Feb. 25, which includes two options for 10-year renewals.

“This is a win-win for the city and for us,” said Brit Boatright, FirstBank’s Nashville president.

Boatright said he expects the bank to be ready eight months from the time they receive the building permits.

City administrators, representatives from the Heritage Foundation and FirstBank all used the phrase win-win when asked about the Post Office Building’s forthcoming transformation into a bank branch.

“The legacy of Gordon Inman is one of the first people to invest in a downtown Franklin bank,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation, referring to Inman being a founding member and a shareholder for Franklin National Bank, which was later acquired by Fifth Third Bank. “And Gordon had done it again with this historic branch,”

“I have restored a few buildings in my time,” Inman said. “Franklin has been very good to me. I have never been involved in a project that went so smoothly with the city. The city and the Heritage Foundation have been great two work with.”

Inman mentioned Julian Bibb as one of the key people from whom he solicited advice after Cagle’s vision and excitement for the project motivated Inman to move forward.

“Julian Bibb is the best person I could hire to get this project done,” Inman said.

Franklin Mayor Ken Moore praised the terms of the lease.

“This has been a smooth operation to work with FirstBank, it’s a win-win for us,” Moore said. “This iconic building will be brought back with renovations. This was a great opportunity to partner with the private sector.”

Moore noted that this has not always been the case with the city of Franklin.

“We intend for this to be a seamless process.”

According to Pearce, the President’s Council on Historic Preservation has cited the Franklin Post Office Building as a national success story.

“This story is larger than just Franklin,” she said. “There are historic post offices closing around the country every day. The steps that were taken to restore this post office and keep it open in downtown Franklin is a national story.”

This is a big week for FirstBank as they are celebrating the grand opening of their new Cool Springs location tomorrow. The grand opening event will be from 3-5 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip will be there for autographs and photos.

“This is a great week for FirstBank,” said Cagle. “I am just happy for the community.”

Top row left to right: Brit Boatright, First Bank; Ed Cagle, FirstBank; Ken Moore, mayor, city of Franklin; Gordon Inman, FirstBank; Doug Cruickshanks, FirstBank; Cyril Stewart, The Heritage Foundation; Stuart Campbell, Stites and Harbison.

Front row: Julian Bibb, Stites and Harbison; Mary Pearce, The Heritage Foundation; Shauna Billingsley, city of Franklin.

Posted on: 2/25/2013


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