FORT SMITH – For many years the building at 720 Garrison Avenue was fine dining for the affluent as the main location of the old Town Club, a members’ only dining establishment which closed in 2009 following some fifty years of operation.
At its’ height, the building featured some three dining rooms, two full kitchens, and a bar area for entertaining. After the club shut down operations, the locally owned Smith Auto Group moved in and began operating the building as a corporate headquarters for their automobile dealerships in both Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas (Well technically Jane, Missouri but the location was close enough to hit a golf ball into Bella Vista). After the Smiths got out and sold their holdings to the Texarkana based Orr Auto Group, the building went vacant again.
Now, it looks like the ornate structure will be the new home of one of Arkansas’ fastest growing bank chains. According to an article from Arkansas Business published earlier this week, Searcy based First Security Bank will make the iconic building their home, as they open their first branch in the Fort Smith market later this year.
Headed by the Rutledge family, the bank has been a stape in Central Arkansas and in the Fayetteville market for some time now, but has not had a presence in the Arkansas River Valley until now. They opened branches in the Russellville market last year, and upon moving into the Garrison Avenue location will have their 77th full service branch.
The magazine reports First Security Bank as having some $3.5 Billion in assets.