Rockford-based Illinois Bank & Trust is buying the building previously occupied by the Galena Gazette for a branch in Galena, Ill.
The bank’s previous branch building in Galena was recently sold to the Galena Center for the Arts. In the past few months, IBT considered several sites in the Galena market, said Joe Mattingley, the $1.5 billion bank’s market president, and found the news publisher’s building to be a “perfect fit.”
IBT has been in Galena and Jo Daviess county for half of a century. Although the Gazette wasn’t actively auctioning the building, P. Carter Newton, publisher of The Galena Gazette, had mentioned to a few community members, Mattingley one of them, that they would consider selling it if someone were interested.
“It will be interesting to see what Illinois Bank & Trust has planned for the building. It is a prime location and just a very good property,” Newton said.
The bank’s plans are still developing with a number of options in consideration, Mattingley said. “We will be working with planners and architects to craft the best use of this space and look forward to developing and unveiling our plan to the community.”
When Newton bought the building in 1995, it was filled with light tables, darkrooms and typesetting machines. In the digital reporting age, these features have been replaced by computers and digital cameras.
“Over time, computer technology has changed how we publish newspapers,” Newton said. “There is now a lot of unused space.”
Illinois Bank & Trust is a subsidiary of the $18.5 billion Heartland Financial USA, Inc., Dubuque, Iowa, which recently rebranded as HTLF.