New owners of historic bank building to begin moving employees to downtown Farmington

GLP Financial Group will begin moving employees to an office in downtown Farmington on Tuesday, Aug. 11. But not into the historic bank building -- yet.

When GLP Financial first announced the purchase of the historic Farmington State Bank Building in January 2020, the news traveled far beyond the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Farmington Road. The bank was built there in 1921.

It’s a bold move for a company, one that can boost public image, attract talent, and change the fortune of a traditional downtown like Farmington’s.

As phase one of demolition has been completed, phase two begins next week. While GLP Financial plans to restore the building’s exterior to its 1920s origins, interior renovations will beget a more modern workplace. Walls and even whole floors are being gutted for an open feel.

When the project was first announced, the company had set a target date of January 2021 for completion. COVID-19 has since pushed that back to March or April of that year.

While their new home won’t be ready until next spring, GLP Financial is currently preparing to move its employees to downtown Farmington not in 2021 but on Tuesday of next week.

The lease on their longtime home in Farmington Hills is coming to an end so the company has leased the old Rocking Horse space in downtown Farmington, relocating employees there until work on the old bank building is complete.

That should be good news for downtown Farmington businesses looking for a lift during the coronavirus-related economic downturn.

"Everybody here is very excited," says Alex Kocoves, CEO of GLP Financial Group.

"There’s nothing really around our office at 12 and Halsted. Employees would have to go out and drive to get food. Now we’ll have restaurants right on the street. And in the future, we’ll have restaurants right in our building."

GLP Financial has an internal staff of nearly 30 employees. They also have 150 reps, 80 of which are based in Michigan and visit headquarters often.

Because of COVID-19, the company is rotating employees on a daily basis, with some working from home and some working on-site. Kocoves says that the new Rocking Horse office will never have more than 10 employees working at a time there.

"When you lease space, you work and you go home. But now with owning, it feels like it’s your house. It’s a completely different vibe," Kocoves says.

"Hopefully this elevates Farmington to a whole new level."

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