City of Gadsden to purchase Broad Street Regions building for new city hall complex


Photo courtesy of the City of Gadsden: The Regions Bank building located at 200 Broad Street in downtown Gadsden will become the new Gadsden City Hall complex. The City of Gadsden approved purchasing the building at the recent Gadsden City Council meeting, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

On Tuesday, July 25, Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford announced at the Gadsden City Council work session that the city has struck a deal with Regions Bank to transform its property at 200 Broad Street into a new city hall complex.
According to Ford, the City of Gadsden will purchase the 28,000-square foot building and more than 1.8 acres for $2.8 million.
The $2.8 million will come from the city’s undesignated funds — essentially the city’s savings account — which currently has over $23 million available. According to Gadsden Councilman Jason Wilson, the common advice from accountants is to maintain an account with at least three months of operating cost. The city currently operates at about $5 million monthly. The purchase of the Regions Bank building will still leave over four months’ worth of operating expenses in the city’s undesignated account.
As Ford began discussing the plans to move City Hall, he held up an old iPhone in his right hand — one of the first versions of the cellphone — to illustrate how outdated the current city facilities are. He offered that the new complex would be like the new iPhone he held in his left hand.
“This is a historic moment for Gadsden,” Ford said. “While it was appropriate for its time, the current city hall is not built for a 21st century municipality. With increased dependence on technology and major advances in building efficiencies, the [current] building has served its time and accomplished its purpose for over the past 60-something years. We are now looking ahead to the next 60 years where Gadsden can become a destination to live, work and play. This new City Hall falls in line with our new comprehensive plan, GROW Gadsden, which will become the road map to our future over the next several years.”
The new city hall will replace the current city hall located at 90 Broad Street, which was built in 1960. The purchase includes all furnishings not being used in the space leased back by Regions for banking purposes, saving the city tens of thousands of dollars in relocation costs.
The city has also secured a letter of intent from a developer who is assessing the city’s property at 90 Broad Street overlooking the Coosa River for its highest and best use, which may include retail, commercial and other businesses.
“The real economic impact of this, if you want to look at the brass tacks of this… What is this actually going to cost the city? The answer is ‘zero’,” Wilson said. “What it does is it clears the way for this [current City Hall building] property to be developed. And the taxes that we will generate off any development on this property will more than exceed the amount we’re going to pay for this [new] building. The net impact on the city is going to be positive.”
While the police department will maintain a presence downtown, its administrative offices, dispatch and emergency management offices are planned to be located in available space in the public safety complex at 1511 Campbell Avenue in East Gadsden.
The current city hall was built during Gadsden’s peak population of 58,000 residents as a replacement for the original Gadsden City Hall, which was built in 1904. In the late 1950s, the city took out a $2.7 million bond to finance the construction of the current city hall complex. Soon after its construction, the population in the city began a steady decline up to the latest Census recordings of approximately 34,000 residents.
“When we got elected, we said we were going to do everything we could to move City Hall and try to market this property,” Ford said. “We have seen renderings [for a possible development at the current City Hall location]. It is unbelievable. Gadsden will never be the same if this happens. What it would bring to the riverfront and this side of the [Coosa] River… Everybody talks about developing the [Coosa] River, and I think this council and mayor’s office will be instrumental in pioneering and championing this effort. We’re excited about this.”
City administrative offices will occupy approximately 24,000 square feet of space while Regions will lease 4,300 square feet of the Broad Street facility from the city. Regions will invest in a renovated branch space in the building, where it will maintain banking services for local customers.
“Regions Bank has a proud history of serving the people and businesses of Gadsden. We are honored to continue our commitment to the area while renovating and updating our Gadsden Main branch – and helping the city obtain necessary workspace in the heart of town,” said Corey McWhorter, Gadsden market executive for Regions Bank. “Our teams at Regions will remain right where they are – here in the center of the community delivering financial services combined with local expertise. And in the future, we look forward to sharing the new look of our downtown branch.”
While Regions Bank has owned the building at 200 Broad Street, the building has contained additional tenants. Therefore, Regions will not be reducing services available at its downtown branch. In fact, the bank intends to invest more than $1 million in upgrades to refresh its bank branch within the facility.
“It’s pretty rare for a city to get somebody to pay them to be in their City Hall,” Wilson said. “So, for us to be able to have a lease agreement with Regions Bank where they’re going to pay us money back over time…It is another great thing with this.”
The city will undergo a “due diligence” period before closing on the property sometime in October. Afterwards, the city anticipates it could take 12 months for the full transition out of the current city hall to take place as some retrofitting is needed to make the move complete.
Ford says he hopes to be completely moved into the new City Hall by Oct. 1, 2024.
The proposed purchase of the building was unanimously approved by the Gadsden City Council during the regularly called meeting following the work session.

Latest News

Treasured Kids Childcare moves to Attalla
Glencoe receives $500k for major road improvements
Gadsden, county partner to secure federal grant for lighting upgrades
Cardinals ‘adopt’ child battling brain tumor
Heart Gallery brings exhibit to Gadsden Mall

Latest Sports News

Westbrook wins second straight state golf title
Hokes Bluff finishes fourth at state golf
Lady Eagles go 1-2 at softball regionals
Westbrook falls just short of state baseball championship
Glencoe finishes a win shy of state softball tournament