ST. PAUL-Western State Bank is tearing down its 8,000-sf existing headquarters and building a new one more than twice the size. The bank, which has been a fixture on University Avenue since it was chartered in 1915, plans to spend $3.5 million on the two-story, 20,000-sf building, according to Bill Sands, the bank’s owner. Flannery Construction will do the work on the new building, Sands says.

The area, which was once one of the more depressed in St. Paul, has shown signs of new life in recent times. “There’s a new library on the corner and a new Asian market going up,” he notes.

The bank will use a little more than half of the building, and lease the rest out. One of the new tenants will be Neighborhood Development Center, a non-profit organization that offers start-up business entrepreneurial and technical assistance.

The bank’s employees will operate out of other Western branches in the Twin Cities while it is built. There will be a trailer on adjacent parking lot to handle some banking functions while the new headquarters is built, Sands says. The new building is expected to be completed by January of next year, he reports.

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