The completion of the rehabilitation of the Bank of Italy building is a watershed moment for the city. The Tolkin Group of Pasadena acted as developer and oversaw the $3.5 million painstaking restoration. The reconstruction was so complete that in December 2004, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bank of Italy Building is situated in the historic center of downtown, the intersection of Main Street and Canal. Just as it was in 1928, the intersection is dominated by the landmark edifice.
Symbolic of the decline of downtown in the 1970’s, the building fell from its grandeur and by the time the Agency acquired the property in 2002, the building had been vacant for more than a decade. Its restoration included complete reconstruction of the classical facades lining Canal and Main Street, upgrades, and reconstruction of the historic interior.
The building’s restoration has attracted key tenants. The second and third floors are occupied by the administrative headquarters of the University of California Merced. The ground floor is occupied by County Bank, restoring the building’s position as a community bank.