Colony Bank Downtown Savannah Branch
The client and design team spent careful consideration selecting a site for Colony Bank’s new downtown branch location. Important selection factors included convenience of location, prominence to a busy downtown thoroughfare and available on-site parking. The site at 241 Drayton Street accommodated all of these factors, allowing Colony Bank to cement itself as a true “Savannah business bank” now with a presence downtown.
The building located at 241 Drayton Street was constructed between 1916 and 1919 as Seyden Tire Company, a Goodyear automobile tire dealership and service station. The building was designed in a Spanish Colonial Mission Revival style, which propelled to popularity in coastal areas during this time, particularly for automobile industry service and sales structures. Located on a major thoroughfare to downtown Savannah, the stop was a popular spot with local automobile owners. Unfortunately, the building was significantly altered between 1954 and 1973 when the gas canopy was removed and all service bay openings and exterior facades were infilled. Continuing to lose its character-defining features, the building became a dry cleaning and laundry business by 1973 and a convenience store and multi-tenant building until the property’s purchase by Colony Bank.
As much as possible, the remnants of the original historic structure were retained. Greenline sought to utilize much of the building’s original look for overall inspiration. The original barrel-shaped terra cotta roof tiles were cleaned and repainted and the building’s original stucco was evened out and retextured. The original niches on the Perry Street façade, which were previously filled in with concrete block, were uncovered and used as a distinguishing design feature. Most historic openings were also restored or retained. All finishes were selected to provide a 1920s-era feeling reminiscent of the building’s construction time period.
The inside layout, which was previously divided into a convenience store and three separate office spaces, now includes a spacious lobby, a community room, offices and other spaces typical of a branch bank office. The building features an existing mezzanine and upstairs space that was likely originally used for tire and parts storage. It now showcases the building’s original exposed brick and is designated for future expansion.
While the client could have easily demolished the existing structure as it was deemed “non-contributing” because of its compromised features, Colony Bank and the design team decided to preserve what remained and attempt to remove historically inappropriate alterations completed over the years. This project is particularly commendable not only for its aesthetic improvements, but because together the design team and client chose to respect and honor the building’s original history and era when there was no obligation to do so. Not only did utilizing the current one-story design and existing sign pole suit the client’s functional needs better than a new build which would have been required to be designed to two-stories, it allowed Colony Bank to preserve its own piece of Savannah history, while fulfilling the brand’s vision of becoming a true “Savannah business bank” with a presence in the heart of Savannah’s historic district.
Historic Building Analysis
Historic District Review Board Approval
Permitting & Construction Phase Services