Volume 16, Number 2
SunTrust Bank will move to a new building on an outparcel in the Harris Crossing shopping center in the second quarter of 2018, Branch Manager and Vice President Mark Marley said this week.
It will be a smaller building than the present one at 353 South White Street, Marley said, but it will have more capacity, adding two partners, a financial advisor and a premier advisor who will be the personal advisor for large accounts, as well as the current staff. “We’ve got a great staff here,” he said.
He said he did not know why the decision was made to move the bank to the northwest side of town. It was all decided at the corporate level and included a lot of attention to demographics, population growth and other metrics.
The building permit for the new bank was issued on March 24 to Benton/Potter Construction Services which paid $24,923.65 in fees for the 3,308 square foot structure which is estimated to be valued for tax purposes at $1.85 million.
SunTrust leases the South White building and 0.85 acre of land from a California LLC, NNN Sun. The modern structure was built in 1972, and was built because several influential men in Wake Forest knew the town needed a larger library.
The Wake Forest Library was established in 1961 after a bond referendum to build a Wake County library system was defeated – though not in Wake Forest. Catherine Paschal, a Wake Forest native who was a board member at the Olivia Raney Library in Raleigh and lived in the family home on Durham Road, found a federal grant of $3,000, which enabled the group organizing a library to hire a part-time librarian.
Mac Bridge and his shop and agriculture students at Wake Forest High School built and stained the fir bookshelves. W.W. Holding Jr. donated two rooms in the office building on White Street that he had recently vacated for a new office and warehouse down the street. The new Wake Forest Woman’s Club held game nights and card parties to raise money. Nannie Holding suggested people donate books.
The library opened on Nov. 15, 1961 with 825 books with Helen Sistrunk and Catherine Paschal as the librarians. They were later replaced by Irene Holding with Pearl Ray and Mabel West as assistants. Mayor H.L. Miller was the chairman of the board with Jean McCamy, Patty Ray and Dr. Olin T. Binkley as members.
Central Carolina Bank had been in Wake Forest since it opened a branch in the 1930s as Durham Bank & Trust and later built the one-story Colonial-style building on White Street that now houses Pink and Parler Properties. It had been a good neighbor bank, cementing that in 1965 when it named a local board of trustees headed by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Olin T. Binkley.
At some time in the late 1960s a group of good Christian men, which by that time included former mayor H.L. Miller and former chamber president John Wooten Jr., sweet-talked, blackmailed and arm-twisted the bank officials into a deal they could not refuse: Build a new bank building rather than renovate the present one and make the present building available to the town as a library. Nannie Holding and everyone else who used it agreed the two-room library in two rented rooms was too small.
The new Central Carolina Bank building at the corner of East Elm and Brooks Street opened in July of 1972, and in February of 1973 a committee revealed the plans to move the library to the former bank building, the Colonial-style brick building on South White Street.
Dr. Binkley and Robert Snow, the local bank manager, told a meeting of the Wake Forest Woman’s Club that the bank would contribute $22,500 toward the project but the community had to donate an equal amount. The Town of Wake Forest had already agreed to pay for the operating expense and maintenance. Another $10,000 was needed for fixtures and had already been pledged.
Once again the community mobilized for its library. Local businesses and industries donated hefty checks, individuals sent in checks and cash.
It took only four months. In June, there was a check-passing ceremony with Mayor John Lyon, H.L. Miller, Dr. Binkley, Hazel Jones, Bill O’Shea, Bob Snow and CCB President Paul Wright pictured, and the town had its new library.