Metro-East News

Bank of America on Belleville Public Square to close in April

snagy@bnd.com

The downtown Bank of America branch, a longtime staple of the Belleville Public Square, will consolidate with two other branches into a new building near Southwestern Illinois College this April, a spokesperson for the company says.

Locations at 23 Public Square, 330 W. Main St. in Belleville and 10 N. Belt West in Swansea will consolidate into a new location at 1911 Carlyle Avenue in Belleville, spokesperson Diane Wagner said. The public square branch will close on April 10, and the other locations will close around the same time, Wagner said. The new location will open a few days later.

The company began notifying customers in December of the consolidation.

No employees will lose their jobs as a result of the consolidation, the spokesperson said. Employees will either be relocated to other branches or will work at the new branch. Wagner declined to say how many employees will be affected because the numbers “fluctuate day-to-day.” She said the consolidation stems from an effort to “streamline” overlapping services, though all the same services will be offered at the new location. The three existing branches are all only a few miles away from each other.

We’re aiming to try to fill the space as quickly as we can. It’s a prime location in town. We hope that we find a good, quality tenant quickly.

Attorney Patrick Mathis, co-owner of “Bank of America” building

Patrick Mathis, an attorney at law firm Mathis, Marifian and Richter, manages the limited liability company that owns the building the Bank of America branch has called home for years. He said Bank of America has always been “an anchor on the Square.”

“It will be a big void in the building itself, but also on the Square,” Mathis said.

The owners of the building are already reaching out to other banks and potential tenants about filling the space, Mathis added. The law firm has occupied the third floor of the building for 12 years, and Mathis said he has seen improvements in downtown since then.

“Downtown is so much better than it was when we first moved here. It’s kind of ironic the bank is moving out because I think the downtown is much, much better than it’s ever been,” Mathis said. “There’s not a lot of big business here, but there’s a lot of nice business downtown. There are a lot of people downtown.”

St. Louis Bread Co., a popular downtown eatery, recently closed, opting for a new location in Belleville Crossing.

While Bank of America’s departure marks the second corporate chain to leave downtown recently, Belleville Main Street Manager Alicia Slocomb said locally-owned businesses “are still standing strong.”

“Change always occurs and change can lead to absolutely positive things. Small business downtown is going strong. The merchants that started their business and grew their business in Belleville saw a tremendous holiday season,” Slocomb said. “Many of the larger national businesses have to follow what their parent company says, whereas local business has freedom to bring new people in.”

The attorney, meanwhile, said he hopes a tenant will come in as soon as Bank of America leaves.

“We’re aiming to try to fill the space as quickly as we can. It’s a prime location in town. We hope that we find a good, quality tenant quickly,” Mathis said.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis

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