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Local News

First Midwest Bank committed to staying downtown

Will County announces contract details to buy current site

JOLIET — First Midwest Bank plans to stay downtown if Will County completes its deal to buy the bank property for a future courthouse.

First Midwest may even build new.

Jim Roolf, president of the company's Joliet Banking Center, said First Midwest Bank has not secured a new location downtown but is exploring several options for a future site.

It's very likely the bank — which has operated in downtown Joliet since the 1940s — will build new rather than remodel an existing building, he said.

“We think downtown has a lot to offer us,” Roolf said. “There continues to be business opportunity here with things that the city and county will both be doing over the next few years. There's going to be a significant ... revitalization on a lot of different fronts.”

He declined to comment on specific locations, adding that First Midwest has some time to identify a new site.

Contract details announced this week show the bank can rent the entire first floor of its current building from the county for a two-year period from the closing date. After two years, the base rent increases and First Midwest Bank must then pay a pro-rata share of taxes and utilities, providing an incentive to leave sooner rather than later.

Much of the county's plan to build a new courthouse downtown hinged on the $4 million acquisition of the Joliet bank building site, 50 W. Jefferson St. The county is expected to close sometime this summer on the 4.3-acre site just west of the current courthouse.

The county has not ruled out the possibility of building a courthouse somewhere else. But county officials have said the game plan is keep the county courthouse downtown, and the contract with First Midwest Bank moves that plan closer to reality.

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