Carol Johnson, Southern Indiana Business Report
March 29, 2023
BEDFORD – A bank building that has anchored a corner of the Bedford downtown square for 100 years celebrated this week with a new name and new purpose.
The building at 15th and J that for decades was home to Citizens National Bank and most recently Regions Bank, was renamed The Banx on J.
Following a ribbon-cutting Monday and unveiling of new signage on the front of the five-story limestone building, the community was invited inside to see how the building has been re-imagined for its new tenants.
The building has five tenants – Espy Services, Movement Mortgage, 1 Identity Counseling WBED Radio and Webb Construction.
Anthony Webb is the building owner and owner of Webb Construction and has renovated the main level and mezzanine space to suit the needs of the tenants. He has plans to create apartments on the upper floors and may renovate one floor for commercial use.
“We are very pleased that Anthony has taken on this project in our downtown,” said Bedford Mayor Sam Craig. “Taking on such a large building and occupying that space with tenants can be very challenging. (Monday) was a great event and we wish him well and appreciate his initiative to take this on.”
Webb purchased the building in 2019. At that time Regions Bank was the only tenant. He was working to secure other tenants when the COVID pandemic took hold in 2020.
That was followed by the announcement that the downtown Regions branch would close.
What had been a solid business plan for the building fell apart and Webb found himself looking at 26,000 square feet of empty space.
“I started calling people who might need office space,” he said.
WBED Radio and an attorney signed leases followed by Espy Services. Espy Services, with about 22 employees, occupies the main floor, which was the bank’s lobby, customer service and teller stations.
The building’s ornate flourishes – the plaster floral medallions on the ceiling and decorative molding remain.
“We wanted to keep the original look, that’s been our goal,” Webb said. “Fortunately, everything was in pretty good shape.”
The teller stations have been converted to office cubicles and the vast lobby is taken up by individual work areas. Behind the teller stations are additional workspaces, a conference room and kitchen/breakroom.
“Everybody has been very complementary,” Webb said. “A lot of people came through and had a connection to the bank.”
About 200 people took tours of the building, many of them thanking Webb for keeping the building viable.
“I love seeing business coming back to downtown and would love to see this building full again like it was when I was a kid,” Webb said.
History of building
Whether someone visited the bank as a customer, worked in the bank or visited one of the professional offices upstairs, the Citizens National Bank building holds a special place in the city’s history.
Citizens National Bank was founded in the late 1800s, and was chartered as the Citizens National Bank in 1899. The current building was built in the late 1920s, then remodeled in 1962.
The bank was sold to Indiana National Bank in 1989. From there, the bank would change ownership with NBD Bancorp, Bank One and Union Planters among the various owners.
Archibald C. Voris was one of the founders of the bank and for many years, members of the Voris family held leadership roles in the bank.