First Commonwealth Bank Donates Downtown Building for Welcome Center

First Commonwealth Bank has announced that it is donating its historic downtown Indiana branch building, 600 Philadelphia St., to Indiana County, which will use it as a welcome center.

“The 600 Philadelphia Street building is a large, limestone-clad building dating back to the 1930s, with handsome Art Deco touches and a classically ornamented interior,” Indiana County Office of Planning & Development Executive Director Byron G. Stauffer Jr. said as he read the agreement at the February 28th’s Indiana County Board of Commissioners meeting.

“In collaboration with the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Indiana, a non-profit organization, (ICOPD)” recommended approval of the agreement, which Commissioners R. Michael Keith, Robin A. Gorman and Sherene Hess did unanimously.

“This is a remarkable day,” Gorman said, as she and her colleagues commented on the action.

Indiana-based FCB said the donation of the downtown branch location will not have any impact on the bank’s employees’ jobs or its ability to serve customers.

Bank and county officials said a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, or PILOT, agreement is part of the deal to ensure that local taxpayers are not negatively impacted by the move. In Pennsylvania, where real property of the county is not presently being used for the purposes for which it was acquired, the county may make payments in lieu of taxes for such property to political subdivisions in which the property is located. The commissioners were quoted in a First Commonwealth Bank statement as saying the PILOT agreement would be negotiated with Indiana Borough and the Indiana Area School District.

“We’ll be moving our branch location, our ATM and night depository right down the street into the front of our existing building at 654 Philadelphia St.,” said Dave Reed, First Commonwealth regional president. “We will start construction on a brand-new branch experience soon with the intent to relocate by the end of the year.”

Reed attended the commissioners’ meeting along with Stauffer, ICTB Executive Director Laura Herrington, Indiana County Chamber of Commerce President Mark Hilliard, and Downtown Indiana Executive Director Sam Kenly.

“We as Downtown Indiana are excited to be able to collaborate with these organizations,” Kenly said.

“We are beyond thrilled at the chamber for this opportunity,” said Hilliard, whose organization incorporated Downtown Indiana as part of the chamber 11 months ago.

“We are beyond thrilled to be able to make this donation,” said Reed, who said the donation will insure the continued historic designation of the 600 Philadelphia St. building.

According to ICOPD, some highlights of that agreement include:

  • “The property will be donated as a charitable gift for no consideration.”
  • “The closing date shall occur within 270 days of the effective date,” which would put the closing sometime before Dec. 1, though Stauffer hoped that it could happen sooner.

“It will be a beautiful new home for the Tourist Bureau,” Herrington told the board of commissioners after a resolution accepting that donation was approved that morning.

ICTB will be moving from its existing welcome center, which it has rented from Indiana Mall for the past 26 years. Herrington thanked longtime mall Manager Sherry Renosky in her comments about the resolution.

After the meeting, Herrington assured county residents that “we will continue to serve the entire county.”