SIGMT Winter 2023

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16 | SIGNATURE MONTANA Tamariel Christopher, vice president of commercial lending at Independence Bank, had a quick answer when bank president and CEO Bill Keller asked her where she thought would be the ideal location for the newest branch. "He asked, 'If you could just build anywhere you wanted in town, where would it be?'" Christopher recalled. "I immediately said 'River Drive.'" ey teamed up with Great Falls-based architect Bill Stuff, owner of Fusion Architecture and Design, and worked out an agreement to purchase a section of riverfront property near the historic 10th Street Bridge. "ere are a lot of things about this location that speaks to who we are and what we do and where we're from," Keller said. "We come from the Hi-line, and we're known as an ag bank, and River Road is used by a lot of industrial traffic and farmers and ranchers. We also have the technology to aract customers who want to bank online, so there is a broad-based appeal." And then there's the draw of the riverfront. "Aesthetically, the view is just fantastic and so beautiful," Keller noted. "How can you pass up a location along the Missouri River?" Despite the beauty of the area as a whole, the site was once a burn dump pit used by Great Falls residents in the late 1800s, resulting in serious environmental issues, according to Stuff. Independence Bank and Stuff worked with the Department of Environmental Quality to remedy DESIGN DECADENT A rustic clock and a classic longhorn bull skull accent the soaring ledgestone fireplace. The open tower staircase spans three stories and is flooded with natural light from the stacks of surrounding windows.

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