Ropa Bella, a women’s clothing store formerly located on the first floor of 4105 E. Madison St., now sits empty. After five years at the location, the shop has moved, and filling its vacant building space will be a new branch of Key Bank.
Property owner Bob Sander said the lease with Key Bank is “a couple of decades long,” and that he spent nearly six months working on and negotiating the lease before Key Bank signed.
“Madison Park represents a gap in our network of 150-plus branches in Washington state,” said John Roehm, Key Bank’s district retail leader for the Seattle-Cascades. “Locating here will bring welcome convenience to the many clients who live in the area.”
Key Bank is planning on moving into the vacant space by February 2011.
The owner of Ropa Bella, now at 2717 E. Madison St. in Madison Valley, said she didn’t want to vacate the space and had asked Sander if it could cut costs by downsizing the business and remaining in the same building.
“Instead of doing that, he decided to rent to Key Bank,” said Ropa Bella owner Lisa Loban.
Ropa Bella’s new location is smaller, and the rent is more affordable, she said.
“The economy has been tough on retailers,” Sander said, speculating on why Ropa Bella asked to downsize its space.
Other businesses in the building, such as Dermaradiance and Sun Precautions, left last winter, and with Ropa Bella now gone, that leaves the whole floor to Key Bank.
Loban said that because Ropa Bella just opened up in the new location on July 26, most people don’t know the store is there yet, but she had planned a grand opening for the new location during the first week of September.
Loban said she hopes that the move won’t dissuade her loyal customers from coming to the store and that she can continue to serve the same clientele.
Key Bank representatives are excited about the move but want to do some remodeling of the space before moving in, Sander said.
“Key Bank is trying to expand and get a greater presence in Western Washington. That’s good, because not all banks are able to do that right now,” he said.
According to Roehm, Key Bank is building 15 new branches in the Greater Seattle area between 2009 and 2012.
Part of Key Bank’s move to Madison Park involves maintaining a presence in the community.
“We intend to be a good neighbor and an active member of the Madison Park community,” Roehm said. “In that spirit, we’ve taken a sponsorship role to support the Madison Park Art Walk five months before we’re even open.”
“Key Bank is trying their best to be a big community participant,” Sander said. “I’m having a very good experience with them.”
Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase Bank already have branches in the area.
“Some people scratch their heads about having four banks down here, but I guess it means the community has enough business for another bank,” Sander said.
Sander said Loban was a great tenant and that everything with the move went “very favorably.”
But Loban was sad to go. “We were very sad that the decision was made to remove three retail locations because of a 20-year lease with Key Bank,” she said. “We were saddened that it had to happen.”
Roehm, who declined to specify the exact length of the lease, said that the bank is expecting a “bright future” in Madison Park and “have invested accordingly with a long-term lease.”
“Every neighborhood evolves over time and Madison Park is no exception,” he said. “We intend to contribute to the community’s long-term health by being actively involved in community affairs and providing the lending power and financial services that thriving businesses and residents need.”[[In-content Ad]]