AUBURN — Since its establishment in the 1850s, Lyons National Bank has grown beyond its birthplace in Wayne County. With more than a dozen offices spread throughout seven counties, LNB has focused on expanding its reach in the Finger Lakes region, and now the community bank is making its next move — this time, to Cayuga County.
The bank is making plans to open two locations in the county — one in downtown Auburn and another in the town of Sennett — something LNB President Thomas Kime said has been a long time coming.
"We typically look at markets around the greater Finger Lakes area and Auburn had been on our radar screen for quite a few years," he said. "Auburn has made a lot of progress. They have a lot of community initiative ... and they've done a lot to improve their downtown."
That's why Kime said LNB initially reached out to business leaders and municipalities downtown, and plans are progressing to lease space in that area. However, after taking a closer look at the county's dynamics and demographics, the bank decided to pursue a second location in Sennett.
Kime said LNB has proposed purchasing the building at 311 Grant Avenue Road, located at the intersection with Mutton Hill Road. That building, which currently houses a La-Z-Boy furniture store, would be demolished to make room for a new two-story branch that would open this fall.
"We would open both locations," Kime said, noting that the leased office in downtown Auburn would open in late March or early April. "We'd like to be part of the downtown business community, but we also want ease of access, which the Sennett location would allow."
Plans filed with the Cayuga County Planning Department show that the new branch would have 10,000 square feet of office space (each floor would take up 5,000 square feet), along with drive-through lanes, new parking lots and landscaping improvements.
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The Grant Avenue building is currently leased by Michael DeNisco, who owns four La-Z-Boy stores throughout the state. And although no sale of the property has been final, DeNisco said he plans to temporarily move operations to his store in North Syracuse while looking for a new La-Z-Boy location in or around Auburn.
"I'm disappointed that we can't stay in that location, but I understand why," he said. "I think Lyons National Bank would make a nice addition in Auburn. ... And I'm going to be actively looking to see where we can relocate the Auburn store."
Meanwhile, Kime said the bank has not met with any opposition in the county, and plans to receive the final approval for both bank branches in the next few weeks.
"We've been extremely impressed with the local community organizations we have met with and the regulatory bodies we deal with have been very supportive," he said. "So we feel very positive about the assistance and input we've received from the community."
In addition, should both LNB branches be approved, Kime said the bank would create 12 to 14 jobs in the county while employing local electricians, plumbers and architects in constructing the new building in Sennett.
"We feel strongly about hiring local people in that market and being actively involved in local nonprofits and community organizations," he said. "We do a lot of revitalization work in our markets and we like to work with businesses and communities to help them grow."