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Fidelity Bank Encounters Hurdles in Spartanburg Regional Office Development

Urban bank building design

Fidelity Bank Encounters Hurdles in Spartanburg Regional Office Development

In a recent turn of events, Fidelity Bank hit a roadblock in its plans to establish a new regional office in downtown Spartanburg. The bank had earlier announced the purchase of the 305 N. Church Street property, formerly the site of the First Citizens Bank, in June 2023. Their ambitious plans involve constructing an 8,400-square-foot, two-story banking facility complete with a drive-thru, offices, and training centers after demolition of the existing structure on site.

Design Meets Resistance From City Board

The initial design proposal for the regional office was subjected to scrutiny by the Spartanburg’s Design Review Board on July 2nd. The board members expressed their needs for more detailed landscaping and parking plans. Further, concerns were raised about the proposed building’s layout, which does not adhere to the city’s requirements of pedestrian-friendly urban design.

Concerns Over Building Layout and Ambiance

Among the main issues was the planned building layout that includes a small grassy area set back from the sidewalk rather than being flush with it. The absence of a corner entrance was also not favorably received since a corner entrance directly accessible from the sidewalk is now the universal design for corner buildings.

Patriotically, the presented design included comparisons to a bank in Pinehurst, NC, but the board members felt the design was too suburban for a downtown location. Their observation was based on the perception that the Pinehurst-based plan was applied with minor alterations, especially considering the drive-thru, making it unsuitable for the downtown Spartanburg environment.

Proposed Solutions And Expectations

To address these concerns, the board suggested eliminating the setback, requiring an extensive redesign of the parking area and the drive-thru. Another consideration is to hardscape the setback, effectively extending the sidewalk area.

The bank representatives, including Brian Murdoch, senior vice president and market executive at Fidelity Bank in Spartanburg, expressed their appreciation of the unique downtown location and the possibility of considering a different approach for the site. They emphasized the bank’s preference for the setback and how it offers a distinctive presence for the facility amid the traffic-heavy junction.

Future Steps for Fidelity Bank

The construction of the new regional office, if approved, will replace the existing downtown branch at 101 Lafayette St. opened by Fidelity Bank in February 2023.

The preliminary renderings present a slate and copper-roofed masonry brick building. The applicants were urged to provide the required additional information before the Design Review Board’s next meeting scheduled for August. Should they manage to forward the required plans before August, the board may arrange a special evaluation meeting.

Fidelity Bank Encounters Hurdles in Spartanburg Regional Office Development Spartanburg SC

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