A Corpus Christi couple with Goliad ties has purchased and donated a historic bank to the city in hopes that it could one day be converted into a new city hall.

Attorney Reagan Sahadi and family physician Mary Margaret Ara have had their eye on the First National Bank building, which boasts four stone columns and sits on Market Street across from the courthouse, for a number of years.

After negotiations with the building’s owner and next-door neighbor, American Bank, the couple came to an agreement to purchase the 1912 building, along with an adjoining lot in back, where Ara, whose family has lived in Goliad County for generations, eventually hopes to open up her own medical practice.

In June, they donated the bank building to the city, and city officials are now exploring whether the building could be converted into a new city hall.

“People talk all the time about the city and county needing to work together — they’d be right across the street from one another,” said Sahadi, who formerly served as a municipal court judge in Goliad. “I think it would be a massive benefit.”

Brenda Moses, Goliad’s mayor, said she has long thought the building would be an ideal location for city hall.

While repairing and remodeling the building would be costly, Moses said she and Main Street Goliad Director Keli Miller have been exploring grants to help pay for renovations and sought advice from an engineer with the Texas Downtown Association.

The building is 12,000 square feet, according to an online listing, and Sahadi said he thinks there could eventually be enough space to house not just city council chambers but also offices for other civic departments such as public works, municipal court and utility billing.

“If it was laid out correctly, it could be a boon to the city,” he said.

Sahadi declined to disclose the purchase price. He and Ara also own the Pettus building and founded the Commercial St. Bar, both of which are located downtown.

Converting the building to a new city hall could open up office space for other city departments such as the fire department, which does not have an adequate facility, Moses said.

The building needs work. The roof is leaking in the rear, and a drop ceiling installed in the 1980s might need to go. The facility is not ADA accessible, and the floors are covered with about “10 different decades” of carpet, Moses said.

But she also noted its historic features, including a basement made of stone from the Mission Espíritu Santo, old bank vaults and decorative glass.

One day, Sahadi hopes to see the city’s name on the old facade, which once read “The First National Bank.”

“It is so beautiful on the outside,” he said. “It could be almost a landmark to the city.”

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Mark Rosenberg reports on local, regional and breaking news for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. He can be reached at mrosenberg@vicad.com or 361-574-1264 or on Twitter at @markrosenberg32. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com/report.


Mark Rosenberg covers local, regional and breaking news for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. Questions or tips? Contact: mrosenberg@vicad.com or call 361-574-1264.