Washington Trust Bank gave the city’s skyline a new look this month with bold new paint and letters changing the name of what was the Wells Fargo building.
The high-rise was purchased in 2019 by Washington Trust Bank for $24 million.
The building holds office space where “there’s a significant Washington Trust Bank representation,” according to public relations team member Brittanie Bonanzino.
The name change on the building will create a unified presence and add consistency, the bank said in a statement.
Plans have been in the works for a while, Bonanzino said. But the pandemic delayed the work, which started in early August and should wrap up this week.
The former Wells Fargo building won’t be the only tall downtown building with the Washington Trust name. The building Washington Trust constructed as its headquarters in 1974 will remain the main office. Both towers are being renamed at the same time: The Wells Fargo building is becoming the Washington Trust Bank Tower East, and the main office is now the Washington Trust Bank Tower West.
When the Tower East was constructed in 1982, it was called the Farm Credit Bank Building, according to a previous Spokesman-Review report. Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities bought the building in 1998 for $11.7 million. The company went bankrupt in 2004, and hotelier Walt Worthy bought the building and renamed it the Wells Fargo Tower after landing Wells Fargo as the anchor tenant.
Though Tower East is now identified as Washington Trust Bank, only six of the building’s eighteen floors will be occupied by the financial institution, while Tower West remains the bank’s main office.
Tower East is 244 feet and the second-tallest building in Spokane. Tower West is shorter, at 212 feet. It is tied with Park Tower for the 6th-tallest building in the city.
“I think it represents a lot for us being able to have the two buildings and just show our commitment to being downtown here,” Bonanzino said. “Something our employees value as well.”
Wells Fargo will continue to operate a branch at the street level of Washington Trust Tower East.
The physical changes observable on the two buildings are the removal of the gold Wells Fargo signage on Tower East and the installation of Washington Trust Bank’s logo. The tops of both buildings are also being painted navy blue to fit Washington Trust’s branding. Originally, Tower West’s ribbon was black.
“The decision was made, in part, to celebrate our history here in the city where we opened our very first location back in 1902,” the bank’s statement said.
Washington Trust has $11 billion in assets and has about 1,200 employees in 42 locations, Bonanzino said. Of those, five locations are downtown, including 253 workers in Tower East, 269 workers in Tower West, 159 in Center on Post, five at the Main Branch inside Tower West and 19 at the branch at Second and Wall.
In addition, Washington Trust owns the former Ridpath Motor Inn, which it bought in 2014 for $2.6 million. The upper floors of the building were torn down, and a portion of it is being used as a garage for bank employees, Bonanzino said. Further plans for that property are on hold.