City hopeful for future of historic building

The old First Citizens National Bank building was demolished during the weekend. The old building was a part of Union City, Tennessee’s main street for years.

Most recently, the building housed a First Citizens National Bank branch and a pizza restaurant. But in 2013, the building saw major flooding. A combination of that and old age left the building sitting vacant. But now city leaders are optimistic tearing down the historic building will clear the way for new opportunities.     

Jessica Graves owns All Dolled Up boutique and salon in Union City. She says the empty building wasn’t helping downtown. Graves says she knows its history, but is hopeful for what a new building could mean.

“It’s gonna’ make downtown look better. There’s not gonna’ be old buildings with signs on it that say ‘vacant,'” Graves says.

Joe Ward is the regional president at First Citizens National Bank. He says the choice to raze and rebuild the old building was difficult, but it was the appeal of the city that cemented the decision. 

“It was a natural thing for us to reinvest in downtown Union City,” Ward says.

Mainstreet Director Phyllis Rauchle has called Union City home her entire life. Although the change is bittersweet, she says the new building will bring so many more benefits, 

“We have that much more traffic. And it just creates a lot more community awareness and involvement in love, and that’s what main street does,” Rauchle says.

Rauchle says it will help boost all businesses and bring in more money, with one drawback: that it will take time.

City history books date the building back to more than a century. But in terms of historical buildings the city has lost, this is only the second.

Another First Citizens Bank branch will stand on the site, but contractors first have to clear the demo-site before they can begin construction and set a completion date.

The project cost is estimated at $1.2 million.

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