Thurston First Bank, which has been part of the Olympia banking community since 2004, is set to raise its profile with a new move into a new building in downtown Olympia.
The destination is the former state Department of Personnel building at 600 Franklin St., which is about to undergo a complete renovation at the hands of Walker John, a local developer already known for converting a dilapidated building at Fourth Avenue and Adams Street into a mixed-use destination.
The new project already has one committed commercial tenant — Three Magnets Brewing Co. — and now Thurston First Bank is set to fill about 6,200 square feet, about twice the size of its current home on Pear Street in Olympia.
Developer John has said he expects the new building, which will have 19 loft-style apartments upstairs, will be ready next summer.
John and business partner Casey Roloff are Thurston First customers, President and Chief Executive Jim Haley said, and the bank has helped fund some of their most recent projects, including the mixed-use project on Franklin Street.
“We want to be part of the economic engine that Olympia needs to be,” said Haley, 62, about its move to downtown.
The one-branch bank was formed in 2004, then Haley came aboard in 2008, growing the assets of the bank from $60 million to $123 million. It then weathered the recession as the bank’s assets fell to $112 million.
Haley views the economy today as “stable to up,” and while certain bigger banks continue to get bigger, that leaves more room for a community bank such as Thurston First, he said.
Once the move is complete, he expects the bank will double its asset size as well as the number of employees, Haley said.
Olympia City Manager Steve Hall said the bank has “proven over and over again to be a great community partner,” adding that the bank provided the final funding needed to complete the new Hands on Children’s Museum.
As for the 600 Franklin St. building, Hall said it is “exactly what the doctor ordered for Olympia,” a good example of the kind of mixed-use project the city needs.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com