The former Purity Ice building at Florida Avenue and Olive Street is nearly ready for its Monday opening as the newest branch of Tampa Bay-based USAmeriBank.

Construction, which began in January, retained the familiar brick exterior of the 84-year-old building. The interior features:

  • Exposed brick.
  • A large wall mural created from Purity Ice documents.
  • New wood floors to simulate the look of the 1930s.
  • New wood trusses that expose the ceiling in keeping with the building’s original look.

A metal canopy facing Florida Avenue mimics the wooden loading dock that fronted the 3,950-square-foot building.

Start of construction:

“The restoration of the ‘Ice House’ building matches USAmeriBank’s commitment to preserving historic buildings that are valued in the community, as it did with historic buildings in downtown Tampa and Ybor City,” spokeswoman Laura Fontanills said in a news release.

Project contractor was John Rodda Construction.

Leaders of the local branch — Al Rogers, Butch Rahman and Bradley Rhoden — have a combined 54 years of Polk County banking experience, according to the company website.

The company chose to expand to Polk County because it saw opportunity here, Fontanills said: “There are a number of growing companies from a diverse mix of industries, such as trucking, warehouse, agriculture and manufacturing, while mergers among area banks last year left an opportunity in the market for a well-capitalized, community-oriented bank.”

Lakeland bankers will specialize in Small Business Administration lending, as well as mortgage, commercial and retail lines of business, Rogers told the Tampa Bay Business Journal in January.

He told the business publication that the bank had formed relationships with organizations such as Publix Super Markets, Lakeland Regional Hospital, Watson Clinic, Florida Polytechnic University, Southeastern University and Florida Southern College.

The interior before construction:


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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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