On Tuesday, Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford announced he has struck a deal with Regions Bank to transform its property at 200 Broad Street into a new city hall complex. The city will purchase the 28,000-square foot building and more than 1.8 acres for $2.8 million.
City administrative offices will occupy approximately 24,000 square feet of space while Regions will lease 4,300 square feet of the Broad Street facility from the city. Regions will invest in a renovated branch space in the building, where it will maintain banking services for local customers.
The new city hall will replace the current city hall located at 90 Broad Street, which was built in 1960. The purchase includes all furnishings not being used in the space leased back by Regions for banking purposes, saving the city tens of thousands of dollars in relocation costs.
“This is a historic moment for Gadsden,” said Mayor Craig Ford. “While it was appropriate for its time, the current city hall is not built for a 21st century municipality. With increased dependence on technology and major advances in building efficiencies, the building at 90 Broad Street has served its time and accomplished its purpose for over the past 60-something years. We are now looking ahead to the next 60 years where Gadsden can become a destination to live, work, and play. This new city hall falls in line with our new comprehensive plan, GROW Gadsden, which will become the roadmap to our future over the next several years.”
The city has also secured a letter of intent from a developer who is assessing the city’s property at 90 Broad Street overlooking the Coosa River for its highest and best use, which may include retail, commercial, and other businesses. While the police department will maintain a presence downtown, its administrative offices, dispatch, and emergency management offices are planned to be located in available space in the public safety complex at 1511 Campbell Avenue in East Gadsden.
The current city hall was built during Gadsden’s peak population of 58,000 residents as a replacement for the original Gadsden City Hall, which was built in 1904. In the late 1950s, the city took out a $2.7 million bond to finance the construction of the current city hall complex. Soon after its construction, the population in the city began a steady decline up to the latest Census recordings of approximately 34,000 residents.
While Regions Bank has owned the building at 200 Broad Street, the building has contained additional tenants. Therefore, Regions will not be reducing services available at its downtown branch. In fact, the bank intends to invest more than $1 million in upgrades to refresh its bank branch within the facility.
The city will undergo a due diligence period before closing on the property sometime in October. Afterwards, the city anticipates it could take 12 months for the full transition out of the current city hall to take place as some retrofitting is needed to make the move complete. Mayor Ford says he hopes to be completely moved into the new City Hall by Oct. 1, 2024.