Passersby will notice that the construction “skirt” has come off the building at the corner of Grant Avenue and Redwood Boulevard in downtown Novato. The work started last year on the 999 Grant Ave. address is nearing completion and a ribbon cutting ceremony has been set for Nov. 8.
Originally intended to be the headquarters for Circle Bank, the location will host the local headquarters for the bank’s recent buyer, Oregon-based Umpqua Bank. Umpqua said it intends to move ahead with Circle Bank's plans to have administrative offices on the second floor and a small branch on the first floor. A city ordinance prohibits bank branches on the first floor of buildings facing main streets on that part of Novato's Old Town, so the branch's entrance will face the parking area to the southeast, sort of toward Mi Pueblo and McDonald's restaurants.
The ribbon cutting will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 and feature Cirlce Bank CEO Kim Kaselionis along with other local officials. Refreshments will be served.
"It is as much a celebration for Circle Bank as it is for Novato, and we invite the community to come and join us in toasting the completion of this project after an effort of almost 10 years," Kaselionis said. "It’s a demonstration of what is possible when we collaborate and work together. We hope that this accomplishment fosters more projects toward success for the downtown area, like the theater, and that it will stimulate more hope for prosperous times ahead for our community."
Ray Davis, the CEO of Umpqua Bank, will be on hand in Novato today, Oct. 24, during a public Q&A session with Kaselionis and the Novato Chamber of Commerce. The session starts at 6 p.m. at StoneTree Golf Course's banquet room.
According to Steven Leonard of Cassidy Turley, the commercial real estate firm providing services for the project, “A number of restaurant types are in discussion” over leasing space at the building though nothing has been finalized.
“Novato has always been the 'if you build it they will come' type of place,” Leonard said, adding that prospective tenants tend to like “looking at the finished space before making a commitment” and that taking the so-called skirt off the building should really help gather some interest. He also said that Cassidy Turley is actively chasing down deals for first floor retailers as well.