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Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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Downtown Tampa bank building has new life as “The Vault”

TAMPA — A 90-year-old bank that once was part of a bustling downtown now is an event venue for weddings, parties and conferences.

In the 1990s developers eyed the Franklin Exchange Building, which covers an entire city block, for redevelopment and potential demolition. The parcel includes three buildings: one is 22 stories tall; another seven stories; and the third is the three-story Exchange National Bank, built in 1923 at 611 N. Franklin St.

Much has changed in downtown Tampa since the bank was constructed. For example, the site of Maas Brothers Department Store, once a prominent downtown retailer, now is now a parking lot.

The former bank building survives, however, and in its new life as “The Vault” is a venue for events such as a gin seminar for Tanqueray company executives, a fashion show and an opening party for Tampa’s International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

“The Vault is like a blank canvas for any signature event,” said Carolyn Wilson, president of The Wilson Company and owner of the Franklin Exchange Building.

Highlights of The Vault, which opened this year, are its 35-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a second-floor mezzanine overlooking the original marble flooring, and a walk-in money vault on the first floor.

At some events the vault has been used as a photo booth or a station for demonstrations of hand-rolling cigars. “It does lend itself to a lot of creativity for events,” said Susannah Smith, The Vault’s events marketing director.

The Vault is within walking distance of Tampa Theatre, The Floridan Hotel and the future Le Meredien Hotel at the old federal courthouse building.

For information, visit www.thevaulttampa.com or call Smith at (813) 225-3450.

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