[caption id="attachment_19386" align="alignright" width="314" caption="Circle Bank plans to redevelop 999 Grant Ave. in Novato according to the design, shown here in a rendering by Crome Architecture, proposed by the previous owner."][/caption]

NOVATO -- Circle Bank today announced it completed the acquisition of property to house its headquarters at 999 Grant Ave. in Novato.

The current building on the site will be torn down.

The privately held bank did not disclose the purchase price.

“We are pleased that we can now begin the process to help create a downtown gateway,” said Kim Kaselionis, president and chief executive officer of the bank.  “While there are many additional steps to be accomplished, we anticipate being able to move in during 2012.”

Ms. Kaselionis said current plans call for a full-service Circle Bank branch, executive offices as well as retail space that will be leased to other tenants on the ground floor.

“The location, because it has been vacant for so long, has not served as the downtown gateway that community has envisioned.  We have long wanted to help the city ‘finish’ Grant Avenue," said Ms. Kaselionis. We’re gratified that our patience and persistence has paid off.”

The bank will immediately begin the process of turning the architectural renderings into construction drawings for the space and obtaining the required permit approvals.  In the meantime, Ms. Kaselionis said she would make the building available to the Marin Urban Search and Rescue Team as well as the Novato Fire Department for training for the next few months.

“Both organizations said that working in actual buildings was extremely valuable and that opportunities to train in existing structures were rare,” Ms. Kaselionis said. “We are happy to make it available at no cost to them.”

Over the years, there have been many plans for the site.  The latest attempt was stymied when the owner of Sacramento-based developer Catlin Properties declared personal bankruptcy in 2009.  Circle Bank, which had first proposed buying the site in 2002, has agreed to work from architectural design previously approved by the Novato Planning Commission.

The current building, located at the corner of Redwood Boulevard and Grant Avenue, has been vacant since 2000.

“Novato deserves a hub building and as the economy begins its recovery, we’re pleased that we will be providing construction jobs now and opportunities for other businesses when it opens,” Ms. Kaselionis said.