The proposed gift is being offered by Cleveland Development Enterprises II, LLC, which purchased the massive First Tennessee Bank facility and property in August, according to an announcement today by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland.
Last week in a separate action, the 20-year mayor confirmed that Cleveland attorney James Webb had offered to donate his office building, located at 283 1st St. N.W., to the city and its residents. The office is located adjacent to Superior Cleaners, about halfway between Mullinax Lincoln and Bradley County Courthouse.
The two gift offers are not related.
The First Tennessee Bank offer, confirmed by the Cleveland mayor in a prepared statement, involves a much larger building and parcel of property. But both are equally appreciated, he said. According to the mayor’s statement, the bank facility and grounds were purchased from First Tennessee Bank National Association by Cleveland Development Enterprises II, LLC two months ago.
The First Tennessee Bank structure consists of 48,000 square feet of space — four stories of 12,000 square feet each — and 8.27 acres of land fronting Raider Drive and lying along a portion of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, according to the statement.
A source representing the First Tennessee Bank purchase said in the statement, “ ... the offer is being made to the city because its expanding needs were evident due to the growth of the Cleveland and Bradley County community, and that the building would enable the city to consolidate some of its functions into one location or for whatever uses it determined to be appropriate.”
First Tennessee Bank is expected to make an announcement soon about its plans, according to the mayor’s statement.
Rowland confirmed the Cleveland City Council will take official action on both gifting offers Monday during its regularly scheduled voting session at 4 p.m. at the downtown Municipal Building.
Rowland, who credited Webb in Friday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner for his office building offer, did the same today for the buyer of the First Tennessee Bank facility and property. The mayor pointed to the importance of both — that they are gifts offered not only to the city of Cleveland and its government operations for use as deemed appropriate, but also to the residents of the community who also will benefit from the property donations.
Of the offer by the First Tennessee Bank buyer, Rowland cited, “This is a very generous and gracious action to make the gift of such a valuable piece of property and excellent building available to the city of Cleveland and its citizens who will benefit from it for many years to come.”
The longtime mayor added, “The continuing growth of the existing industries in and around Cleveland, the prime location our community has become to other important businesses and manufacturers, and the choice of people moving in to make our city the place to live and raise their families all mean that Cleveland must keep pace in provision of infrastructure and services to maintain and enhance the quality of life here. This building will help city government in that mission.”
Rowland’s statement pointed out the First Tennessee Bank parcel of property has an “ ... illustrious history for sports devotees in Bradley County.”
The site was formerly known as Fulbright Park and included four baseball fields where youngsters up to 12 years of age played in the Dixie Youth organization; and boys 13-14 years of age competed in Dixie Boys baseball, the statement said.
The park was named in honor of Mark Fulbright, former Bradley County judge.
The statement also cited, “The building was constructed in 1986 by Cleveland Bank and Trust, one of Cleveland’s oldest financial institutions dating back to 1906. The new facility enabled a move from the bank’s long-standing location on Inman Street in downtown Cleveland.”
Cleveland Bank and Trust subsequently was acquired by First Tennessee. Announcement of the acquisition was made in 1993, and the transaction was formally closed in the spring of 1994, the statement explained. It further specified that the institution continued to be known as Cleveland Bank and Trust, operated by First Tennessee, until 2001 when the name was changed.