Downtown board OKs City National expansion

Bank plans 6,000 square foot addition to central site

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Aug 22, 2007 - Planners hope to begin work on a 6,000 square foot expansion of City National Bank's downtown location by November, the project's architect said Tuesday night.

The design, submitted to the Downtown Revitalization Board for approval under design compliance regulations, was warmly received by the board.

"It sounds exciting," board member Roy Pelton told architect Ples Schnitze of Schnitze and Seweel in Richardson, the project designer.

City National Bank, the oldest bank in Hopkins County, has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, and the banks central headquarters were becoming cramped as a result, Schnitze told the board.

The bank's leaders "felt it imperative to keep it downtown," the architect said, leading to the decision to expand.

The new one-floor addition will be built onto the west side of the CNB building, but the the new construction is only a small part of the planned improvements.

For one, the addition has been designed to follow the late 1960s period architecture of the main building's architect, Jack Woods, who Schnitze called "a Texas architect of some repute." The addition's design will copy the elements of the original building, and the finish materials used in the CNB building's construction are still available today.

The design is also configured to work in conjunction with the plans for downtown revitalization.

"It is the design intent to further advance the concept of revitalization by creating a cityscape along Connally and Gilmer street to act as the nexus for pedestrian way improvements at the northwest corner of the Public Square," the architects wrote in their application for approval.

Sulphur Springs Community Development Director Johnny Vance told the board that the architects met with city staff two weeks ago to get a sneak peak at a proposal for a veterans memorial and to remake the courthouse square. They then revised their CNB plans to fall in line with that plan.

"I was thrilled to death to see that [plan], because we can sort of jumpstart it a little bit," Schnitze said.

"They've done a fantastic job of teaming up with all parties," Vance said.

Schnitze told board members plans are to begin work on the new addition in November. He expects the project to take about eight months to complete.

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