Austin Bank buys Forum building


POSTED: Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 5:49pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 11, 2014 - 10:32am

If you grew up in Tyler, you probably recognize the Forum building. It has been on the corner of Broadway and Front Street for 47 years.

"Different things have worked in there, and other things haven't worked in there. There's been a lot of changing over the years," said Tyler Chamber of Commerce President, Tom Mullins.

The building was everything from a furniture store to a restaurant, but it has been unoccupied for years. Now, the building has a new owner. Matthew Marshall with Drake Real Estate sold the Forum building for the Fender family.

"We had the forum listed in January of this year, put our plan together, got pricing agreed to by the seller and us, and we represented the Fender family in selling that asset to Austin Bank," said Marshall.

Austin Bank confirmed they bought the property. They said they have no immediate plans. That isn't stopping speculation.

"We're thinking they may have some kind of bank project planned. We don't know that for sure," said Mullins.

The building includes a huge parking lot and under-ground structure.

"Whether they leave the building or scrap the building and start all over...we dunno yet," said Marshall.

Marshall has some ideas of what the building would be good for.

"If Austin decides to open up a branch or headquarters, that would be an office or retail hybrid,so that would be a logical fit for the site," said Marshall.

There is already an Austin Bank location down the street on Broadway.

"If it's not gonna be an expansion of the Austin Bank, and it's gonna be some other use in there, that could draw people to whatever that use provides," said Mullins.

That would bring more people to the downtown area.

"It'll just be exciting to forward five years what downtown looks like, if it returns to what it was at one time," said Marshall.

He is hoping for a hub of East Texas retail and commerce.

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1977. in 1967 there were storefronts occuppying that space. one store in particular,"Sweet Smoke" was a "Head Shop" operated by the Tyler Police Department

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