First Merchants Bank to occupy second floor of Skyline Tower in downtown Fort Wayne

First Merchants Bank announced Thursday it will establish a regional headquarters office on the second floor of the Skyline Tower building in downtown Fort Wayne. (By Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Construction still is ongoing on the second floor of the Skyline Tower building in downtown Fort Wayne. Officials held a news conference on the building's second floor Thursday to announce that First Merchants Bank will open a regional headquarters office on the building's second floor. (By Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Construction supplies and equipment were nearby and people had to wear hard hats and safety gear to attend a news conference Thursday on the second floor of the Skyline Tower building, which still is under construction in downtown Fort Wayne. Officials announced First Merchants Bank will open a regional headquarters office on the building's second floor. (By Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
City and project officials and the media gather Thursday afternoon for the announcement that First Merchants Bank will occupy the second floor of the Skyline Tower building in downtown Fort Wayne. (By Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

First Merchants Bank will open a regional headquarters office in the new Skyline Tower building in downtown Fort Wayne.

Muncie-based First Merchants will occupy the entire 17,750 square feet of the building’s second floor as the anchor tenant. Bank officials and project and city leaders announced the move during a news conference about 2 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of the building, which still is under construction on Wayne Street east of Webster Street.

The move will allow First Merchants to move 60 employees from various locations around the city into one office in five months, said Michael Stewart, the company’s executive vice president and chief banking officer.

Five companies that First Merchants works with are within one block of Skyline Tower, and others are only a half-block away, Stewart said.

Larry Weigand, whose Weigand Construction is building Skyline Tower, a $44 million mixed-use development, said the 12-story building will truly be a place to live-work-play, with 124 apartments to be completed by June, Merchants Bank moving in, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House to open in the ground floor in May.

Asked if employees might look into living in some of the apartments, Will Thatcher, First Merchants Fort Wayne region president, said the company’s employees include a mix of ages, and some have already talked about the possibility of living at Skyline Tower. Project developer Great Lakes Capital plans to create a tour for them, he said.

The move is “going to help us with recruiting and retaining talent,” Thatcher said. While the other employee locations are close to the interstates, it’s a different feel downtown, he said.

First Merchants operates more than 120 banking centers in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. The company has 16 banking centers in the Fort Wayne area and plans a “substantial investment to grow that presence,” Stewart said.

News-Sentinel.com reporter Kevin Kilbane contributed to this story.

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