Downtown Mason Dart Bank Headquarters

Community: City of Mason
Population: Under 2,500

At the entrance to Downtown Mason stood almost an entire block of underutilized and abandoned property. Dart Bank completed their investment of approximately $8M to construct their new headquarters to better serve the community and accommodate the growing number of employees added to the bank. The project involved the demolition of multiple buildings and the cleanup of a contaminated site. The new Dart Bank Headquarters is a three-level, 28,500 square-foot building that now houses almost 70 employees. The project was only possible due to Dart Bank’s 92-year relationship with the community. Their investment instilled confidence within our community that Mason was growing. This project specifically included financial support from the DDA, City of Mason, Ingham County, and the Michigan Strategic Fund in the form of $1,105,875 in local and school brownfield tax capture.


Replicability:

Some of the most complicated projects can only be achieved by partnerships and relationships that had been established many years prior. Mason has a very engaged business community that is committed to the success of the overall community. Business leaders and employees participate in service groups, community events and non-profit organizations and are regularly talking with other community leaders for the betterment of the entire community. In return, the community has overwhelming support for local businesses. Dart Bank was founded in Mason in 1925 and our community has continued to support them over the years. These connections are critical when an easy business decision has to be compared with a decision that benefits the community. Formal and informal retention visits are essential to making these types of projects work. The investment in the downtown over the years establishing unique spaces also assisted creating a place where Dart knew their employees would want to be.

Creativity and Originality:

The goal of this project was to build a new headquarters that would be an epicenter of growth for the Mason community. By providing opportunities for local job seekers and small businesses to grow, Dart Bank invested in Mason by building their headquarters in the community. The early engagement of impacted taxing authorities so they understood the project and the importance of their investment was vital to this project. Green Elements - Geothermal and Storm Water Detention: Two wells draw from an aquifer which heat and cool the new building. This process is 400% more efficient than traditional heating and cooling methods. Features of the system you see are the “fountain”, which helps circulate water and the rain gardens which filter the rain water. Advanced Technology Drive-Thru: The new Drive-Thru features a butterfly design which replicates the original Mason Drive-Thru. The new Drive-Thru also includes two Interactive Teller Machines and an ATM. Art Competent - Partnership by Dart, City and Lansing Economic Area Partnership to establish public art on the new site. This enhances the “sense of place” for the area. Trails- Adjacent to the Hayhoe Riverwalk is a connection this project is making to provide an alternative transportation opportunity. The bank has a goal of adding bike racks within the next year to match the ones throughout the Downtown.

Community Impact:

In 2011, INCO Graphics closed their operations in Mason and what remained was a contaminated site that was difficult to develop at the main entrance to Downtown Mason. The tax based dropped by $1M adding to the significant revenue challenges the City of Mason faced. Adjacent to that site, Dart Bank owned three separate buildings that were inefficient and obsolete for their expanding business needs. At a very critical moment, Dart Bank could have decided to locate anywhere in the region instead of dealing with a site that would be very challenging to develop. A long-standing relationship between the Bank and engaging partners very early in the process, lead to the decision by Dart Bank to stay in the center of our community. The result is a state-of-the-art headquarters that values green infrastructure, while embracing the community through public art and green space.

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