National City Gets Muskegon Site

June 13, 2005
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MUSKEGON — After years of trying, National City is expanding its presence in downtown Muskegon.

"We've been looking to relocate our main office facility for about five years now," said Community President Douglas Morgenstern.

The bank has found a new home in the MSBII development, located on the south side of Shoreline Drive across from Terrace Plaza in Muskegon. The office will be located on the first floor of the new building and occupy 8,500 square feet of the 10,000-square-foot space.

The building is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2006. The new location will include a full-service branch, administrative offices, commercial lending, small business banking, investment and corporate banking, a night-drop option and a drive-up ATM.

"You name it, we've got it there," Morgenstern said.

National City originally planned to move into the site four years ago, but the development was not finished. Morgenstern said the bank looked around for other sites, but realized that giving it time was the best approach.

"Eventually a developer came forward that was interested in buying that location that had been started and not finished," he said. "In discussion with them, that became a good opportunity for us once again."

The mortgage loan office, 3088 Sheffeld St., and the drive-through at 1070 Peck St. will both be relocated to the new location.

Morgenstern said the new location will give both the bank and the community opportunities. With Shoreline Drive becoming more prominent, he said customers will benefit from the convenience, and the bank will benefit from increased traffic.

"I think the downtown is important to any community's strength," Morgenstern said. "It's also a potential for rebirth and growth."

Morgenstern said it is important to be a part of that growth, and the new building will increase the bank's visibility downtown.

"It puts a stake in the ground for us downtown," he said.

Bouwens Construction is one of the developers for the new building. CEO John Bouwens said National City was looking for someone with a significant development background. Bouwens Construction has developments in cities including Grand Rapids and Holland, but this is its first in Muskegon.

"I think this building, because of its location and visibility, will improve the downtown and kind of kick start what they're trying to do with the old mall site," he said.

Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen said she thought the new location is unique and highlights the opportunities that Muskegon has to offer.

"The building will actually have a waterfront view as well as be conveniently located in the center of the city," she said.

The building will be a showcase project for others to see what is happening in downtown Muskegon, Larsen said.

"People need to see bricks and mortar to understand what the downtown area is going to be about," she said.    

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