The development of a property naturally results in changes to the appearance of land and its improvements. In the case of the development of 5100 Forest Ave., we have heard from neighbors and community constituents that they “cannot wait” until the “eyesore” bank, prominently located one block from the Metra station, is demolished.
The 14,000 square foot, two-level former bank building has clearly outlived its time. Built in the early 1970’s, the bank was designed to accommodate banking operations at a time when community banks had much larger, in-house operations. The 4,500 square foot basement contained men’s and women’s locker rooms, and would have easily accommodated staff of a couple dozen or more. As a sign of the times, there was even a tobacco smoke air filtration system in place, a throwback to a time when smoking in the office was not only acceptable, but commonplace!
The 9,500 square foot main level had multiple functions, including a large main lobby with marble accents, several teller stations, and multiple banker offices with glass partitions to lend an open feeling to the bank. Additionally, the building’s NW corner featured an additional teller lobby – it’s purpose unclear, as its function appears redundant to the main lobby – and a four-lane drive-through with vacuum canister delivery.
As banking habits have changed – and moved online – and as community banks have merged and been absorbed into larger regional and national banks, the need for such a large footprint to handle local banking needs has declined drastically, leaving this building sadly obsolete.
Interestingly, the bank features four separate vaults, all of which were left open except ONE! We are very eager to learn what – if anything – remains in the last unopened vault. As optimists, we hope for gold bullion, but only time will tell.