New downtown KeyBank to be northern state headquarters


The new KeyBank building design, which was submitted to the city Feb. 12, has more presence from the street level than the previous design. KeyBank representatives claim the redesign was due to a change in priorities for the space and not because of objections from the public. Illustration provided by the city of Bellingham.


A new design for the proposed KeyBank building at the corner of Holly and State streets has been submitted to the Bellingham planning department. This new design, submitted to the city Feb. 12, reflects KeyBank’s plan to make the downtown branch their northern Washington headquarters.

The first design, submitted in late 2006, was a single-story, 23-foot-tall building with 4,980 square feet on only one floor. The design was approved by the city’s design review board but raised eyebrows about the use of such highly visible real estate for a simple and modest design.

“I think people had expected a bigger, taller building to go in such a prominent spot,” said Marilyn Vogel, a senior planner with the city of Bellingham. “But there is no rule that says it has to be taller.”

Anne Foster, KeyBank’s Northwest regional public affairs director, said that as a KeyBank headquarters, the building needed to be bigger than the first design in order to house the more than 20 regional staff members and bank employees that will work in the branch.

“We’re very pleased with the new design and what our new headquarters branch will add to downtown Bellingham,” said John Roehm, district retail leader for KeyBank’s Seattle-Cascades district, in a statement.

The new design will have two floors totaling 8,989 square feet, 24 parking spaces and a dramatic two-story glass entry that will sit kitty-corner to Saturna Capital. The design also whittles the number of drive-through lanes down from eight to three, which was also included in the first design.

“This new design gives it more of a presence than a single-story building design,” Vogel said.

RMC Architects’ Neil McCarthy helped draw up the first plans for the bank and said after the initial design was completed and submitted to the city, the bank said they wanted to add an extra wing to the design.

“So the design was a moving target up until they decided to completely change the design,” McCarthy said.

Since the bank moved from a custom to a corporate design, RMC did not move forward with KeyBank.

Vocon, an architecture and design firm out of Cleveland, Ohio, submitted the second design, but Matt Heisey, the architect who worked on the bank’s new design and applied for review to the city, declined to comment.

The new design should go before the city’s design review board at their March 18 meeting.

Related Stories