American Bank, a 61-year-old area banking institution, will open a branch in Waco Town Square, putting it in the middle of continued development near the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s $4 million headquarters and along Austin Avenue.

“We’re very excited about having a presence in the downtown-Baylor-Lake Brazos corridor,” said David Hicks, president of American Bank, which has other locations off Interstate 35 in Bellmead and in American Plaza at 200 West State Highway 6.

He said American Bank will lease space beside the Jimmy John’s sandwich shop at South Fourth Street and Franklin Avenue, nearly right across the street from the 7,500-square-foot banking center Wells Fargo built in 2009 after leveling the former Heart of Texas Council of Governments building.

“We will have a 1,500-square-foot lobby where all business will be transacted,” Hicks said, noting that banks are trending toward smaller branches that can offer a full line of services through advances in technology.

He said the facility will feature a conference room and space for tellers, lenders and a 24-hour ATM in a secure location.

“It is our intent to use this location as a launching pad for our active backing of downtown and those involved in making it grow,” Hicks said during an interview Tuesday. “This will be a high-quality development, something that I think everyone in downtown can view with pride.”

Brandon Warford, a vice president and six-year employee with American Bank, will oversee marketing and business development efforts for the branch.

American Bank, known by many for its “round” bank building in Bellmead, was formed by the merger of American Bank and American National Bank in 1987. It can trace its roots to 1952 and the creation of Bellmead State Bank, which became American Bank when it moved into its distinctive, new headquarters in 1979.

M.N. “Buddy” Bostick, founder of KWTX-TV, served 30 years as chairman of American Bank, a position now held by Ray M. Deaver. The independent bank employs 85 people between its two locations and had total assets of about $370 million as of Tuesday, Hicks said.

American Bank is placing itself in the midst of a burgeoning central city, where old buildings are becoming havens for retail, office and loft development.

Near downtown, builder Steve Sorrells is developing Cameron Heights, a residential subdivision.Shane Turner, meanwhile, is creating Tinsley Place, an urban village of between 150 and 200 townhomes on property bounded by South Eighth and South Seventh streets and Cleveland and Ross avenues.

“Then there’s the student housing complex, Heritage Quarters, that has filled up nicely,” said Chris Evilia, spokesman for the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

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