Alliance Bank’s Creative Reuse

Murphey-Keith Building Restored, Modernized for New Branch

By David Pittman

Alliance Bank of Arizona recently closed its oldest bank branch in the state to move to a new location that comes with its own history.

The new branch in the Murphey-Keith Building at 4445 N. Campbell Ave. is one of the area’s more charming structures with its brick masonry walls, large windows, solid wooden doors, beamed ceilings and fireplaces. It was built in 1928 by two legendary Tucsonans, architect Josias Joesler and visionary builder John Murphey. 

Joesler is one of the most renowned architects in Tucson history, while Murphey is widely considered the most influential person in shaping the development of the Catalina Foothills.

Born in Switzerland, Joesler studied architecture, engineering and history before working as an architect throughout Europe, traveling the world, and continuing his work in Los Angeles. It was there where Murphey learned of Joesler and convinced him to come to Tucson and work with him and his business partner, Leo Keith.

Murphey and Joesler reportedly partnered on more than 400 buildings in Tucson. In 1928, they worked on 56 of those jobs and one of them was the Murphey-Keith Building.

The building actually no longer sits on the spot where it was built. In the early 1980s, the building was lifted and moved north from its original setting to make room for the road widening at River Road and Campbell Avenue. 

Today, the building is owned by Town West, which provides a mix of real estate, investment, development and property management services throughout Southern Arizona.

Town West purchased the property from the Robert C. Murphey Trust in 2020. In 2021, shortly after Town West agreed to lease the building to Alliance Bank, Town West began the renovation that added 1,000 square feet to the building, increasing its size to nearly 4,000 square feet.

Alliance Bank moved into the building in October 2022. Town West handled the leasehold improvements and incorporated those costs into the lease.

“Town West did a great job disassembling many parts of the structure and putting it back together in expanding the building,” said Steve Odenkirk, managing director of the bank’s southern region. “Everyone involved in the renovation had the concept that we were to do everything possible to keep the building in its original state. The project provides a creative reuse of the building.”

Toby Horvath, president of Town West, said the outside of the building “looks like it always has, and we made restorations where they were needed. On the inside we modernized to create functional state-of-the-art banking office space. It came out nicely.”

Mike Sarikas, trustee of the Robert C. Murphey Trust, was pleased with the renovation. “It’s an old building and I’m glad they preserved it,” he said.

There are 10 Alliance Bank branches in Arizona, two of which are in Tucson. The second Tucson branch is at 200 S. Craycroft Road.

Alliance Bank of Arizona, headquartered in Phoenix, is the largest locally headquartered bank in the state, but that’s only the beginning of explaining the resources this regional bank system possesses. Alliance Bank of Arizona is a division of Western Alliance Bank, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Alliance Bancorporation, which has more than $70 billion in assets.

“Think of Western Alliance Bancorporation as a parent organization that oversees not only Alliance Bank of Arizona, but also Torrey Pines Bank (San Diego), Bridge Bank (San Jose), Bank of Nevada (Las Vegas), First Independent Bank (Reno), and other divisions,” said Odenkirk.

Western Alliance Bank has 56 offices in Arizona, California and Nevada. Western Alliance Bank is a member of the New York Stock Exchange and is listed as WAL. The board chair of Western Alliance Bancorporation is Bruce Beach, a founder and senior advisor of BeachFleischman PLLC and a longtime Tucson business and community leader.

“Alliance Bank of Arizona’s roots run deep in Tucson, just like mine,” Beach said. “Since joining the board in 2005, I’ve witnessed first-hand its unwavering dedication to supporting local businesses and community organizations throughout Southern Arizona.”

Western Alliance has gathered many accolades. In 2023, Bank Director, a private company that acts as a research and fiduciary resource for bank executives, ranked Western Alliance 

No. 1 among banks with assets over $50 billion.

Pictured above – Steve Odenkirk, Managing Director, Southern Region Alliance Bank of Arizona
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