LIMA — An historic landmark in downtown Lima has opened to the public once again.
Officials met outside the old First National Bank & Trust building Tuesday afternoon to mark the completion of the 43 Town Square project, a mixed-income housing community located in the heart of downtown Lima.
The First National Bank & Trust building, built in 1926, closed months after Mayor David Berger took office in December 1989; standing vacant for the majority of his tenure. Berger on Tuesday offered the restoration of the First National Bank & Trust building as evidence of a renaissance underway in downtown Lima.
“This structure and that stained glass is truly a symbol of our revitalization, particularly of the downtown,” Berger said, alluding to a 1999 television special “Lost In Middle America (and What Happened Next),” which used the bank building’s stained glass as a metaphor for Lima’s deterioration.
“All the investment that’s been made and all the projects that we’re seeing in our downtown is truly a renaissance that I think we all appreciate,” Berger said.
The 12-story building is featured on the National Register of Historic Places, known for its Chicago-style commercial architecture and Renaissance Revival features. Many of those features, like the stained-glass windows found in the old bank lobby, have been preserved.
Woda Cooper Companies, the project’s developer and property manager, plans to lease the bank lobby and a second room on the first floor to commercial tenants. But neither space has been leased yet.
David Cooper, principal for the Woda Group Inc., said he’s “optimistic” the commercial spaces will be leased soon. He expects commercial tenants in the building will increase foot traffic in the area.
Seven of the 47 apartment units are still available, including three market rate two- and three-bedroom apartments. Market rate units, of which there are 10 total, rent from $769 to $916 a month. Affordable units are also available, renting from $313 to $675 per month to families making up to 60% of the area median income.
The project, which has been years in the making, was funded in part through low income housing and historic preservation tax credits, as well as a HOME grant from the City of Lima, a 12-year tax abatement for 50% improved value and a permanent loan from RiverHills Bank and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, according to Woda Cooper Companies.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.