New Fifth Third design will also revamp Fountain Square

The heart of downtown Cincinnati will take on a new look over the next year as one of the city’s oldest and largest corporations has decided to grow its headquarters.


Fifth Third Bank, headquartered on Fountain Square, plans to expand the lobby of its corporate offices, which will increase its visibility on the Square and bring an updated look to the downtown gathering space.


The bank also opened a small museum on the Square, which chronicles the people, places, and events that built the bank since its founding in 1858. The museum features bank notes discovered in old safes, war bonds, photos, and other artifacts from the company’s long history.


The expansion project is expected to begin this spring and be completed in 2020. It will create a more prominent entrance to the bank from the Square, as the lobby will be expanded to include renovated retail space, a two-story atrium and a newly designed financial center. The atrium will let in natural light and open the lobby to the square. The project also will connect the bank’s two towers on the first floor as well as the second.


The headquarters expansion comes just six months after a shooting in the bank’s lobby and around the Square outside left four people dead, including the shooter.


“Fifth Third Bank is deeply committed to Cincinnati and to Fountain Square,” says Greg Carmichael, chairman, president and CEO of Fifth Third. “We are proud to invest in, and renew our commitment to, the city we have called home since 1858.”


Fifth Third, one of the largest banks in the Midwest, was founded here and its headquarters has been located on Fountain Square for 50 years. The bank operates more than 1,000 banking centers in 10 states and had $146 billion in assets as of the end of 2018.


The renovation will use products that save energy, and will include replacing the low tower’s windows that face the Square with energy-efficient glass. It will also feature the bank’s Next Generation branch design, meant to improve customer service with transaction bars, booths, and education areas, creating a space to seek advice and guidance, according to Fifth Third.


Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the project “reinforces the bank’s commitment to our city while sending a strong message about the vitality of downtown Cincinnati.”


The museum will be open to the public Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature rotating exhibits commemorating milestones such as Jeanie, the first online, shared network of ATMs that Fifth Third Bank created in 1977.

Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist, Cincinnati native and father of three. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.
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