Historic bank building in downtown Farmington sold, renovations planned

One of the most high profile and recognizable buildings in downtown Farmington has been sold.

The historic Farmington State Bank Building, oft referred to as the Village Mall, is under new ownership. Renovations with the building’s 1920s-era origins in mind are planned.

Farmington Hills-based wealth management firm GLP Financial Group has purchased the property from Farmington Holding Company. The purchase includes the original bank building as well as the shopping center behind it.

GLP Financial Group plans to renovate the original bank building and transform it into the company’s headquarters. The shopping center includes several storefronts on both Grand River Avenue and Farmington Road.

GLP Financial Group has tapped Birmingham’s Biddison Architecture for the job.

"We’re delighted to partner with GLP Financial Group as they invest in Downtown Farmington," says Kate Knight, the executive director for the Farmington DDA.

"They intend to enhance the bank building’s 1920s character while upgrading functionality and retaining a residential and retail mix with their flagship headquarters. The schematic designs they’ve developed thus far are exciting, and we should start to see work in 2020."

The building’s history is deeply entwined with that of Farmington.

The original bank building was built at the intersection of Farmington and Grand River in 1921. Originally the home of Farmington State Savings Bank, or Warner Bank, as it was called, the building was sold to NBD in the 1950s. The Warner family repurchased the building in the early 1970s, converting the space to retail stores.

Farmington Holding Company began managing the property in 1975 before becoming a partner in 1985. As recently as a decade ago, principal partners included several grandchildren of Governor Warner, the original owner.

"Until the sale, the majority of the partners consisted of Warner family members who are thrilled that the property will be given a new lease on life," says David Cornwell, managing partner and representative for the seller, Farmington Holding Company.

"They are optimistic that the proposed redevelopment of the property will be as positive for downtown Farmington as the original development was nearly 100 years ago."

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.