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Bank properties sell in wake of mergers

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Area businesses, and even the Springfield Public Schools, are taking advantage of property offered for sale as a result of bank mergers.

Three vacant buildings that once housed Roosevelt Bank locations were sold by Mercantile Bank, which acquired Roosevelt last year.

Two locations, one on South Campbell and another at 3828 E. Sunshine, were purchased by Restaurant Systems Inc., said Richard Pendleton, a partner in the company.

The company purchased the buildings to examine the potential of converting them into Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. RSI has not yet completed its feasibility study to determine whether the former banks can be used effectively as quick-service restaurants.

The South Campbell building sold for $540,000 and the East Sunshine for $450,000, according to Gregg Stancer, with AmerUs Commercial Group, who brokered the deal.

"If we couldn't use the buildings as a restaurant, then we acknowledge that we will be seeking alternate uses for the buildings," Pendleton said.

Restaurant Systems owns 49 KFC restaurants; Pendleton's partner in the business is Jerome Talley. Pendleton is on the board of directors of Liberty Bank, which opened two new branches in outlying towns in 1997.

David Kunze, president and CEO of Signature Bank, said his company had looked at all three Roosevelt properties as possible sites for branch locations.

"We have not applied (to the state for approval of a branch), but we are looking diligently at property," Kunze said.

Earl Manning, director of Missouri's Division of Finance, said no applications for new branches in the Springfield area are pending.

Another Springfield business, Hogan Land Title Company, will be moving its main operation into the former Roosevelt Bank at 1605 E. Sunshine, previously the Farm and Home building, said Kim Chaffin, president of Hogan Land Title. The company is to close on the building Jan. 15. Hogan will maintain a closing office at its 921 Boonville location, Chaffin said.

Although the company is not gaining that much space by moving to the new location, the building is one Chaffin's father, Jack Hogan, has always liked, she said. It is also a building that will not need much renovation to accommodate a land title company.

The company would have had to create more storage space at its Boonville location eventually, she added.

"That will be the only closing office on the north side, and it was important to us and our customers to maintain a closing office there," Chaffin said.

The company hopes to have its main operation moved to the new location by March 15, Chaffin said.

Another Mercantile-owned location, a now vacant former Mercantile Bank near Pipkin school, has been purchased by the Springfield Public Schools for relocating some of its offices from the Kraft Administration Building, according to George Freeman, spokesman for Springfield Public Schools.

The bank closed on the deal to sell that property to Springfield Public Schools in October, Freeman said.

A building at the corner of Battlefield and Campbell that once housed a Union Planters Bank was officially closed as a Union Planters bank Dec. 31, said Chuck Shaw, vice president of marketing. Union Planters will move its personnel into other locations around Springfield, including the First Savings Bank across the street.

Union Planters purchased First Savings, and new signs will go up at the First Savings Bank Jan. 16-18, Shaw said.

The building is under contract to be sold by April 1, Shaw said. The building is 12,450 square feet and is priced at $1.525 million, said Ron Tappan, broker for AmerUs Commercial Group, who is listing the property.

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