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.