JMH Building Will House New Texas Citizens Bank

November 12, 2009

The JMH Building at Edloe Street and Rice Boulevard will soon gain a new tenant — Another community bank to serve West University Place businesses and residents.

Texas Citizens Bank just signed the lease yesterday for 4,300 square feet of space in the building, and hopes to open part of the space for business in the first quarter of 2010, said bank chairman and CEO Duncan Stewart.

“I’m ecstatic, I’m very excited,” said Michael Freeman, who owns the JMH building. “They’ve expressed they’re very excited about being in that location and being a part of the community.”

The building has been vacant since Amegy Bank moved out last month, Freeman said. JMH Grocery closed in December 2007.

Stewart, a former 14-year resident of West U., said he chose to locate the new branch in West U. because he has many connections and friends in the area.

“I just really loved that old JMH, and my children go up there and hang out on the weekends,” Stewart said.

The bank’s financial products target small-to-medium size businesses, as well as professionals like lawyers and accountants.

“We’re a community-oriented bank with a high level of customer service,” Stewart said. “We feel that level of customer service will be very well received in West University.”

Texas Citizens Bank has just under $200 million in assets and is headquartered in Pasadena. It has a branch in Clear Lake and also plans to open locations in Rosenberg, Tomball and Baytown.

The bank will now work on finalizing architectural plans, gaining city permits and earning regulatory approval to open the new branch. Then renovations will begin. The 2,500 square feet that housed Amegy Bank may open as soon as February, and Texas Citizens Bank will open the rest once construction is complete.

The outside will be painted, get new stone-lined doors and large windows so passers-by can see inside the bank. Turn-of-the-century bank vault doors will greet visitors who enter.

“I think one is from late 1800s and one is from the early 1900s,” Stewart said. “You know you’re walking in a bank as soon as you walk in … It’s not your commercial bank look.”

The location will include a board room that the company will use for its own meetings, but it will also be open to community groups.

Freeman said he thinks his new tenant will help attract more businesses to fill the remainder of the JHM building. He’s already gotten some interest, he said.

“Over the last couple years with the economy, and factors uncontrollable that have happened to all of us, it’s been a little bit of an up and down,” Freeman said. “I definitely think this is going to spur more than interest, it’s probably going to help accelerate the development of the rest of the property.”

Note: This story was updated Nov. 13 at 10:55 a.m. to correct some inaccuracies. regrets the error.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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