Monday, February 11, 2013

Madison Park: regional banking center


HomeStreet Bank to lease the former Tully's space?


Though the neighborhood is already home to four bank branches, Madison Parkers are apparently about to get a fifth banking option. According to our sources, HomeStreet Bank, a State-chartered savings bank based in Seattle, has leased the prime location that was vacated by Tully's last October (4036 E. Madison Street).  HomeStreet was unwilling to confirm the story "at this time" when we quizzed the Bank about it this morning.  Nevertheless, the Bank's commuications officer was helpful in correcting some errors in an early draft of this story, which we had forwarded to her for review.

Assuming our sources are accurate, HomeStreet will be moving in sometime later this year after extensive alterations to the 2,100 sq. ft building. In its previous lives the building, built in 1900, had been the home of several different retail operations. If a bank now takes the space, the move will further solidify Madison Park's growing reputation as a place where you can get a meal, have your hair done---or cash a check.

HomeStreet, which has 22 retail branches, has been ramping up in recent months, recently opening a new branch in Fremont and soon to open a 23rd branch on Capitol Hill.  As a community bank of modest size, it would be the only financial institution represented here that is not a major commercial bank (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Key are each big national players).

The fact that another bank may be coming to the neighborhood rather than a new retail shop, however, will certainly reignite the debate that raged when Key Bank added itself to the mix in 2011. Many Madison Parkers argued then that landlords here have a responsibility to keep the supposedly village-like character of the business district intact by leasing only to retail shops. That argument didn't prevent Key Bank's move to Madison Park, and it didn't sway the landlord of 4036 E. Madison this time. It was clearly an economic decision.

We understand that the commercial real estate broker, when taking down the "For Lease" sign on the building late last week, told passersby that only a bank was willing to pay the cost of the lease (reported to be in the $9,000-$10,000 per month range). That rent is a tough nut for any retailer to crack, though there had apparently been interest in the space by many potential lessees. (For example, rumor has it that Bert's took a look at using the building for a wine & spirits shop but determined that there was not enough square footage).

Madison Park Business Association President Terry Short had this to say about the possible introduction of another bank into the business district:  "There seems to be a void when a business leaves our neighborhood, especially one that meets the needs of our residents. The banks in Madison Park have increasingly supported our community and have tried hard to be sensitive and support both the businesses and residents who live here."

What happens to the Tully's space has been a matter of intense speculation by many Madison Parkers over the past five months. In fact, a commercial broker tells us that in his long career he's never seen such a high level of interest by any other neighborhood in what was going to happen to an individual retail space. But the time for speculation is now over. "Confirmed" or not, a bank it is.

9 comments:

  1. This is really disappointing. To charge $10,000 a month in rent down here is ridiculous... rumor has it that years ago when Tully's wanted that space so badly, they told the owner they would pay double what he was asking and since they paid that high amount, he thinks everyone should pay the same. The rent is definitely not "market value". What happened to having fun, personable shops in this neighborhood?? It's not the banks' fault, clearly, it is the landlords to blame for what once was a lively, vibrant neighborhood now on the decline...

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  2. The community, both the organized and the un-organized factions are to blame for these issues. We cannot adopt an anti-outsider pose, while ourselves shopping outside the community or on-line, and wonder why our businesses keep turning into other things.

    What is the Community Council doing about business development? The Business Association? Bryan? All of you residents?

    Our business core is maybe the only thing that makes us unique, yet little is seemingly done to use that asset to our advantage. Instead, we selfishly try to hide it from everyone else, and are thereby smothering it to death.

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  3. Hey man, we need to give the Community Council a break, at least they got two of the banks to reduce the size of the signage, that's progress, right?

    If you don't like the job the Council is doing, do something about like promoting an open Council election with candidates with an open policy positions!

    In other words, the Council is like the weather and complaining about it does no good!

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  4. The news of another bank makes my soul ache. Understand, I rely on the institutions to manage our medium of exchange but, in an age of electronics, why would our beautiful avenue by the water need to be dominated by a handful of patrons showing up each day to stand before a few loyal tellers?

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  5. My bet (or hope) is that by HomeStreet entering Madison Park, some of the others will leave (like, hopefully, Chase). I will gladly take my business to a Seattle-based bank over the likes of Chase, Wells, BofA, or even Key. My tax dollars have supported the Too Big To Fail banks enough, I don't need to give them my business as well.

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  6. The Madison Valley ‏Community Council just received a $15,000 grant from the city under Seattle Jobs Plan to promote businesses. So how about the Madison Park Community Council???

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    1. if you want to know more about the Seattle Jobs Plan, go to www.seattle.gov/EconomicDevelopment/jobsPlan/

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  7. I've got such a dumb present-day biz sense. I had hoped if Lola or another Mad. Parkian would cuddle up to Mr. McSweetie, he would bring Tully's back. Or at lesst get BECU to move here (yeah, right).

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  8. We now have another bank! Sound Community Bank, a local bank of 50 years, has opened a lending office at the corner of East Madison and Lake Washington Blvd. in the Landmark Real Estate Building.

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