Since its arrival in Greater Des Moines as a full-service banking operation, Reinbeck-based Lincoln Savings Bank has been an active participant in development projects.

For Lincoln Savings, that participation comes in the form of financing projects, many with complicated capital stacks that the lender has been willing to tolerate, provided that a solid developer is behind the deal.

These days, crews are hard at work on another Lincoln Savings project, one of its own — a full-service branch that will be located on Ingersoll Avenue.

“What we love about the location is that it really serves two main markets. One is the Ingersoll market heading west, and the other is downtown. We have a number of customers downtown,” Lincoln Savings CEO Erik Skovgard said.

The move serves as another indication of the economic vitality along Ingersoll. In September, Burlington-based Two Rivers Bank & Trust opened a branch and headquarters for its Central Iowa operations at the northeast corner of 31st Street and Ingersoll.

Bill Sullivan, market president for Two Rivers, said the idea wasn’t so much to bring the bank closer to downtown developers — it is not as active in the downtown development scene as is Lincoln Savings — just closer to customers in general.

“We did the demographics, and the demographics are really good so far as incomes and car counts and everything you want,” he said.

As an aside, Sullivan noted that the Ingersoll operation might have cut too much of a fine urban edge with its streetside, glass-walled building. During a recent meeting behind those glass walls, bank officials watched a vehicle pass through a red light, bounce off a couple of other vehicles and head on down the street.

“Our customers and staff would hate it, but we might have to think about putting some bollards outside the first-floor conference room,” he said.

Still, the close call is all part of doing business on a retail strip that Sullivan agreed is shaping up as another so-called “golden mile” of banking that emerged in the Jordan Creek Town Center area of West Des Moines in the early to mid-2000s.

Tally them up, and there are eight retail banks and credit unions enjoying those demographics that Sullivan tracked in the Ingersoll neighborhood.

In June, Lincoln Savings paid $1.25 million to developer Jake Christensen’s 1922 Ingersoll LLC for two lots directly south across Ingersoll from a Veridian Credit Union branch and the Ingersoll Square apartment complex. Christensen has been an active developer on Ingersoll. Two Rivers bought its property for $1.25 million in May 2016 from developer Richard Hurd.

Lincoln Saving plans a 15,000-square-foot, two-story building designed by ID8 architects. 360 Construction is the general contractor. The total project cost is $5.5 million, with the bank building accounting for $3.5 million of that figure. Construction should be completed in the spring.

Plans call for a rooftop patio where the bank can entertain clients, serving up views of a city on the grow.

Inside, the focus is all business. 

“We want it to be a very professional atmosphere with a heavy focus on office meeting space,” Skovgard said. There will be individual teller pods.

Lincoln Savings Bank entered the Greater Des Moines market in 2010, when it opened a mortgage production operation in Ankeny. At the time, it was known primarily as a residential loan producer and a strong agricultural lender.

The bank eventually opened a branch in Adel, bought and moved into a former Liberty Bank building in Clive in 2012, and later built a new branch in the Prairie Trail development in Ankeny. The downtown operation has been part of Lincoln Savings’ long-term planning.

It is important to note the year Lincoln Savings opened its retail banking operation in Greater Des Moines — 2012, after other banks entered the market in the heady days of lending leading to the Great Recession. Lincoln Savings waited out that development boom and bust and entered the market during the recovery.

“Insofar as meeting our expectations, it has been an excellent market,” Skovgard said. “Our timing has been excellent.”