Home » Local News » Bank donates site for new LEDA office

Bank donates site for new LEDA office

(Editor’s note: This article originally ran Feb. 23. However, it was inadvertently cut off, thus incomplete, which is why the LTN is re-running it.)

Amidst a backdrop of rumbling truck engines, police and fire sirens and simple everyday traffic rolling down the main thoroughfare, another bold declaration in the belief of downtown Lincolnton’s strength was made when officials from First Charter Bank deeded over to LEDA (Lincoln Economic Development Association) the property where once set the bank’s drive-through/ATM, 502 E. Main St.
What separates the transfer of deed from being just another ordinary transaction is the property — estimated value over $150,000 — has been donated to LEDA, which will construct a new, expansive headquarter on the site. It’s the latest act by civic and business leaders in the confidence they have in downtown Lincolnton.
“As a community bank, we know we can’t be a strong, vibrant bank unless we’re in a strong vibrant community that has a strong, vibrant economy,” said Robert E. “Bob” James Jr., president and CEO of First Charter Bank. “What better place to be than in the middle of ‘uptown’ Lincolnton.” He added he preferred “uptown” as versus “downtown” because up symbolizes growth and a positive attitude.
It was a feeling expressed time and again by the other guest speakers, who included such luminaries as County Commissioner chairman Tom Anderson, Lincolnton mayor Bobby Huitt, and Junior Howard, chairman of LEDA.
“This is an exciting opportunity for LEDA to be able to better serve Lincoln County and the City of Lincolnton,” stated Howard in a recent news release. “We are very thankful and appreciative to First Charter for their commitment to economic development in the city and county.”
Micah Lee, senior vice president and city executive with the bank mirrored that thought.
“We are very excited to be able to provide LEDA with the land for the new LEDA headquarters,” he stated in the same news release. “The Main Street location is ideal for this new visual gateway to downtown Lincolnton.
That opinion was also voiced by LEDA’s executive director, Barry Matherly.
“We feel very strong about downtown,” said Matherly. “This will allow us to move to the present and the future.”
He added LEDA’s philosophy differentiates it from other similar organizations in neighboring communities, which have moved their base of operations to locations closer to interstate highway exchanges.
First Charter’s president and CEO of First Charter summarized the bank’s decision to donate the property rather than sell it once construction of the new bank was completed on the neighboring piece of property which one time was the site of a supermarket.
“We knew this was going to be excess property. The options were to put it on the market and sell it,” said James. “We thought the better use would be to give it to LEDA. This would be a good marriage.”
Consequently, the bank approached LEDA, which had been scouting for a new location, having long ago outgrown its current facility on Congress Street. One of the sites was 502 E. Main St., which had been identified in a building study undertaken by LEDA member Mitch Miller, who was an intern at the time.
It was determined 502 E. Main St. is where LEDA wanted to be. As a result, Bo King and Bud Warlick, board members of LEDA approached bank officials and informed dialogues were undertaken and an agreement was reached.
“When we officially asked, ‘How much?’ that’s when they came back with the proposal,” said Matherly.
by Steve Steiner

You must be logged in to post a comment Login