SARASOTA — The building that once housed the Newtown Economic Redevelopment Office is being repurposed into a financial establishment that will be a first for the community situated north of downtown Sarasota.
The Sarasota City Commission recently approved a lease agreement with St. Petersburg-based First Home Bank for the city-owned property at 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The community’s economic redevelopment office relocated to city hall, giving way to the First Home Bank outpost. The Sarasota Police Department will continue to operate a substation in a portion of the building.
“Establishing a banking facility in Newtown has been a specific goal of this commission and is a key part of the city’s redevelopment efforts,” says City Commissioner Kyle Battie, whose district includes Newtown, in the statement. “Providing access to banking and financial services for the unbanked in this underserved community is crucial, and together with our focus on encouraging home ownership and other economic development projects we’re working on, we can truly improve the quality of life in Newtown.”
The bank is on track to open in early 2022, following renovations. Additionally, First Home Bank hired North Sarasota resident and former NFL player Carlos Yancy as its business development specialist.
Yancy will also join the Bank’s PEACE (Providing Equal Access to Credit Envoy) Team, a group of residential mortgage experts dedicated to combating inequality and better serving the needs of minority and low-to-moderate income borrowers in every phase of the homebuying process.
“We are excited to have longtime North Sarasota resident Carlos Yancy onboard to oversee outreach in the market,” says Thomas Quale, First Home Bank’s Sarasota market president. “He has seen firsthand the obstacles these community members face when it comes to banking, and he will play an integral role in our efforts to provide the resources and financial support they need to reach their goals.”
The new bank will serve as a loan production office and financial resource center, which the press release says will be the first of its kind in the Newtown community. The bank is expected to provide personal and commercial loans, financial education, programs and additional resources. It will also feature a no-fee ATM, providing customers free access to their funds.
First Home Bank was established in 1999 and currently operates six banking centers in the Tampa Bay area, including one in Sarasota. It had $1.19 billion in assets through June 30, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.
“North Sarasota is known for its history, culture and strong sense of community,” Quale says, “and we are proud to invest in the neighborhood, find ways to best support those who call it home, and play a small role in its ongoing rejuvenation.”