In August 2023, Union Bank & Trust (UBT) held its grand opening for Union Bank Place, a remodel of an iconic building at 13th and O streets in Lincoln. Work on the project began in the spring of 2021.
Renovating an Iconic Building
The building was constructed in 1976 to house the National Bank of Commerce (NBC). After NBC vacated, Wells Fargo occupied the space for many years.
“UBT had a branch across ‘O’ Street,” Vice President of Marketing Carol Ash said. “When Wells Fargo decided to no longer lease it, we decided to move into the space because of its history for Lincoln. Turning that space back to its original intent was what we wanted to do with the design. We had a temporary location until the build-out phase on the north side was finished.”
The building was designed by I.M. Pei Partners, an internationally acclaimed architecture firm. Among I.M. Pei & Partners’ most notable works is the National Gallery of Art East building in Washington, D.C., the renovation of the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
The building’s structure is famous for the cast-in-place reinforced concrete, the unique buff color of the concrete, and the attention to local and state design features. For example, on 13th Street, one can see that the building is in the shape of Nebraska and has 93 windows representing the number of counties in Nebraska.
“The UBT team’s focus for renovation was to reconnect with the original intent of the building design — be something special for downtown Lincoln and all visitors; be a connector to the UNL campus, the arts, business and the residential areas of downtown; and serve customers in a way that meets today’s banking needs,” said UBT’s President and CEO Angie Muhleisen.
The UBT team worked with Sinclair Hille Architects and Brester Construction to design and build out the space to maintain the building. The renovation involved roughly 31,844 square feet and consisted of areas on the main floor, the mezzanine level and second floor. The mezzanine renovation included an updated boardroom and a new lunchroom. The second floor was renovated to accommodate UBT’s management and staff who manage 529 college savings plans.
More Than a Bank
The building includes a pop-up shop, which provides an opportunity for one of UBT’s up-and-coming small businesses to showcase their business and products. Selected businesses will occupy the space for four months. The first pop-up shop business is Susa’s Sweets & Balloons, which will occupy the space until December 31.
Stories Coffee was chosen to run the coffee shop at Union Bank Place.
“Stories is a customer of ours based out of Omaha,” Ash said. “This is their first location in the Lincoln area. Dan Loutzenhiser, owner of Stories, is very familiar with UBT as he was once an associate working as a teller when he attended UNL.”
Also on the main floor on one side of the branch is the community room, which is available to community groups and nonprofits that need a space for their meetings, and on the other side is the small business resource center.
“We have strategically moved a small business team into Union Bank Place to help answer questions and guide small businesses,” said UBT’s Vice President of Small Business Stephanie Dinger.
UBT integrated digital screens into the design. As one enters the space from the 13th Street door there is a large screen that serves as a welcome to Union Bank Place. To the right is a digital screen promoting the pop-up shop. Two screens anchor the teller stand area. Across from the teller stands is a screen that invites visitors on 13th Street into the space.
On the north side of the community room is a large “community” screen, which focuses primarily on sharing a variety of community information, announcements, art and other digital media in addition to bank-related messaging.
“We’re encouraging local organizations and nonprofit community groups to submit information or items they’d like to post to advertise upcoming events or share video clips,” Ash said.
The UBT team worked with Nanonation to bring the digital vision to life. Nanonation team members are also working alongside UBT’s marketing team to produce a variety of content displayed on the screen.
“Our goal was to breathe new life into the 13th and O intersection, once known as the center of downtown Lincoln,” said Executive Vice President Jason Muhleisen.
UBT is a privately-owned bank that has 38 full-service and loan production offices in Nebraska and Kansas. It is the third-largest privately owned bank in Nebraska. As of June 30, 2023, it had bank assets of $8 billion and trust assets of $46.1 billion.
402-323-1565 • 1248 O St., Lincoln, NE 68508
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