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eandslee

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5 hours ago, eandslee said:

I heard it from someone in the banking industry.  There is a possibility that he could be totally wrong, but he’s probably, at least, partially correct.  Either way, it still doesn’t suppress my hatred for Charlotte! :lol:  Yes, my hatred is based on jealousy.  At least I can admit it!

Come down to Charlotte and I will be happy to show you around take your to a nice local restaurant, perhaps a local brew at one of our breweries and a ride on our LYNX light rail.  

Be the best Richmond you can be (and better than than what is being portrayed in the national media about the state now)  I grew up in Fairfax County which I know most downstate people did not like that area either.  But I have 2 good friends who live in Richmond and they love it. 

But in terms of this merger between SunTrust and BB&T yes Charlotte will be the HQ of the combined bank how many jobs don't know.  They are also building a new technology center here. What they have stressed is major operations of the bank will be based still in Winston Salem and Atlanta.  I guess in terms of Richmond,  SunTrust owns Robinson Humphrey Investment bank in Atlanta which I am guessing is a lot bigger than BB&T investment bank arm.   They may consolidate some jobs there but they want to be committed to all the communities they serve including VA.  This will take a while for all this to sort out I assume.  

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RVA's days as a major banking center have passed. Hopefully BB&T will maintain a strong presence, but if not, I feel very positive about the future and am frankly glad it's not Charlotte. Yes, the region likely squandered many opportunities in the 1970s and '80s that Charlotte did not, e.g., the hub for Piedmont Airlines. However, having just spent several days in Charlotte, personally I find RVA a much more dynamic and interesting city with tremendous potential. I spent time walking all of downtown (uptown) Charlotte and explored many of the historic neighborhoods and up and coming places such as NoDa., Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, South End, and yes, I had some good local food and beer, but in the end, I could not shake the feeling of overall sterility. I don't want to disparage a place;  Charlotte has a lot in which it should take pride, and it offers a solid airport hub and great jobs base. I suspect it would be a nice place to raise a family. But from my view, and only mine, it didn't really feel as if it had a soul. I've visited all of the top 50 metro areas in the country and even Phoenix felt like a place with more character. So all this is to say that I while I hope RVA will work as a region to achieve its full potential, it actually has a great unique and authentic fabric that is priceless (and that we may have thanks largely to our stagnation in the latter half of the 20th century). Now we can really leverage that fabric, the river, the arts, the special grittiness, and other assets to be our own unique place--not fret over Charlotte lapping us economically, not trying to be the new Austin or Portland, or a mini-Philly, but our own vibrant place, warts and all (yes, we need to handle and address the Confederate legacy more directly).

Edited by flaneur
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On 2/8/2019 at 9:24 PM, Blackbird Fly said:

Having independent cities and counties kills regionalism. A lot of other central cities would get infrastructure like arenas and convention centers paid for through county taxes, to which multiple municipalities contribute. A good example of this is Phoenix which is surrounded by 6-7 suburban municipalities which are all within Maricopa County. This allows them to pay for regional commodities together. 

I second this. I'm in Norfolk, and not a day goes by that I don't regret that Princess Anne County and Norfolk County were allowed to become Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, respectively. I get the reasons why (Norfolk was growing by swallowing up portions of the counties), and the counties wanted independence. However, there should've been a final agreement to keep the counties as is, maybe collaborate with Norfolk, without giving up any more land. The "Seven Cities" concept we have down here has stifled us in so many ways, and I can't help but think how much bigger this area could be with Norfolk proper, then the few counties feeding into Norfolk.

That said, I'd love to see Hampton Roads and Richmond develop the success Charlotte has had over the last 30 years with pro sports, business, public transportation, and the airport. I'd kill to get at least one pro sports team and better transportation here.

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  • 7 months later...

I found this article interesting.  Probably not enough room in its downtown headquarters to house all of their employees. I’ve always thought that eventually, Atlantic Union Bank might be the next company to build a tower downtown...one day.  Not sure when that will be, but we’ll see.  I expect the bank to get larger and therefore will need more space.  Also, when banks build towers they usually don’t spare any expense to be THE tower in the town they are HQ’d.  Here’s hoping Atlantic Union grows and stays in Richmond:

http://www.virginiabusiness.com/all-headlines/article/bank-leases-69620-square-foot-building-in-henrico

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  • 1 year later...

I know that on the surface, this acquisition doesn’t sound like a big deal (Since Essex Bank is just a small Richmond bank), but this scares me a bit.  Essex just agreed to be acquired by a major bank...a much larger bank than even Richmond’s own Atlantic Union Bank. This is United Bank’s way into the Richmond market and it looks like United Bank continues to expand. Unfortunately, Atlantic Union is not expanding (they seemed to just stop).  I don’t know too much about banks (just enough to be speculative and maybe dangerous on occasion), but this just seems to be too close for comfort.  I do not want Atlantic Union acquired by another bank...if so, another Richmond bank will get swallowed up. Also, I have hopes that Atlantic Union will grow bigger and possibly even build a new tower downtown someday. That’s my vision, even if Atlantic Union doesn’t share that same vision. :rofl:
 

https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/w-va-based-united-bankshares-to-acquire-essex-bank-for-303m/

Edited by eandslee
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  • 5 months later...

Richmond banks have been quiet throughout the pandemic, but the thought just occurred to me (again) that that perhaps it's time for Atlantic Union Bank to make a bold move.  AUB hasn't been in the news since early to mid 2019 and has been silently sitting in the corner ever since.  I would love to see the bank make another acquisition and build on the growth it's already made.  My point in saying this is that with the already 2K+ HQ employees it currently has in Richmond (I think that number is about right), it would be great if they could consolidate all of their HQ employees in the Richmond area (which are disbursed around town) all under one roof...wait for it...and build a tower right next to the new Dominion Energy tower on the recently filled-in lot!  That would be a bold move, but honestly, I think AUB needs to have a more visible/prominent presence downtown.  You'd hardly know that they were downtown at all if you weren't looking for their signage.  Heck, this is the largest community bank in Virginia and covers Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Am I looking for an excuse for another office tower to be built in Richmond?  Absolutely!  What company in Richmond right now might be poised to do so?  Atlantic Union Bank comes to mind and is the next one I'd foresee being able to do it.  Just some thoughts that popped in my mind.  I've expressed this idea multiple times before, but I keep coming back to it because, to me, it just make sense through the eyes of a bank.

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14 hours ago, eandslee said:

Richmond banks have been quiet throughout the pandemic, but the thought just occurred to me (again) that that perhaps it's time for Atlantic Union Bank to make a bold move.  AUB hasn't been in the news since early to mid 2019 and has been silently sitting in the corner ever since.  I would love to see the bank make another acquisition and build on the growth it's already made.  My point in saying this is that with the already 2K+ HQ employees it currently has in Richmond (I think that number is about right), it would be great if they could consolidate all of their HQ employees in the Richmond area (which are disbursed around town) all under one roof...wait for it...and build a tower right next to the new Dominion Energy tower on the recently filled-in lot!  That would be a bold move, but honestly, I think AUB needs to have a more visible/prominent presence downtown.  You'd hardly know that they were downtown at all if you weren't looking for their signage.  Heck, this is the largest community bank in Virginia and covers Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Am I looking for an excuse for another office tower to be built in Richmond?  Absolutely!  What company in Richmond right now might be poised to do so?  Atlantic Union Bank comes to mind and is the next one I'd foresee being able to do it.  Just some thoughts that popped in my mind.  I've expressed this idea multiple times before, but I keep coming back to it because, to me, it just make sense through the eyes of a bank.

 

I love the idea. With record profits, I'm sure someone is itching for that land somewhere...maybe AUB.

 

To be honest, I work downtown and have seen a few AUB signs but I thought it was "yet another" bank opening up downtown and advertising their checking and savings accounts. I had no idea AUB was that big across multiple states nor did I know they were HQ in RVA. I definitely have never met anyone who has worked there or done consulting projects with them so hearing they have 2000+ employees in RVA is quite the shocker. Wish them the best in downtown RVA.

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On 1/5/2022 at 6:12 PM, eandslee said:

Richmond banks have been quiet throughout the pandemic, but the thought just occurred to me (again) that that perhaps it's time for Atlantic Union Bank to make a bold move.  AUB hasn't been in the news since early to mid 2019 and has been silently sitting in the corner ever since.  I would love to see the bank make another acquisition and build on the growth it's already made.  My point in saying this is that with the already 2K+ HQ employees it currently has in Richmond (I think that number is about right), it would be great if they could consolidate all of their HQ employees in the Richmond area (which are disbursed around town) all under one roof...wait for it...and build a tower right next to the new Dominion Energy tower on the recently filled-in lot!  That would be a bold move, but honestly, I think AUB needs to have a more visible/prominent presence downtown.  You'd hardly know that they were downtown at all if you weren't looking for their signage.  Heck, this is the largest community bank in Virginia and covers Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Am I looking for an excuse for another office tower to be built in Richmond?  Absolutely!  What company in Richmond right now might be poised to do so?  Atlantic Union Bank comes to mind and is the next one I'd foresee being able to do it.  Just some thoughts that popped in my mind.  I've expressed this idea multiple times before, but I keep coming back to it because, to me, it just make sense through the eyes of a bank.

It's definitely a very interesting concept, to be sure. Does AUB have the financial wherewithall and/or the employee headcount yet to realistically consider building a prominent downtown headquarters tower? When you look at CoStar's tower -- the additional 2K jobs would give them 3K worker-bees downtown -- with the upside of yet another 1K jobs down the road. So would AUB need to increase their workforce by roughly a third to reach a total of about 3K -- similar to CoStar -- and that many workers, if all consolidated downtown, would then make a large -- hopefully signature -- tower, more realistic.

Just curious because I don't know all the economics that go into all of this.

Now - just for fun, I dug up old pictures of the tower that was part of the original design for the Dominion complex. The primary tower was actually designed for the site of OJRP. It looks like it was 30-plus stories tall, inclusive of the base. Including the crown, it looks like it was the equivalent of about 34-35 stories. Assuming 15-foot floor plates, stem to stern, to the rooftop itself, the tower would surpass CoStar by about 100 feet - rising to 525 feet in actual architectural height. Factoring in the 85-foot elevation of the site of the OJRP, it would again top CoStar by 100 feet - rising to a skyline prominence of 610 feet -- in both cases (525 and 610) by far the tallest building in Richmond and -- depending on construction of a 600-footer in NOVA -- possibly the tallest in the Commonwealth (through I'm guessing the building in Tysons will likely already be standing long before AUB or Cap One (were they to come downtown), etc., would ever build something along these lines.)

Nonetheless, digging out some old files of a tower I personally love and would LOVE to see on the skyline right along side of CoStar, Dominion, and the Fed in dominating the downtown RVA riverfront.

 

dominion-originaldesign00.jpg

dominion-originaldesign01.jpg

dominion-orignaldesign2.png

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That workforce number must be their entire workforce including branches. They don’t have anywhere close to that many people in corporate functions and even fewer downtown. I could see them doing something different than James Center at some point but it won’t be a massive tower unless there are other companies signing up for it as well. And they would likely need to double their rent expenses.    You need to hope for someone like Markel or some other big corporate HQ to want to relocate from the burbs. 

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7 hours ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

That workforce number must be their entire workforce including branches. They don’t have anywhere close to that many people in corporate functions and even fewer downtown. I could see them doing something different than James Center at some point but it won’t be a massive tower unless there are other companies signing up for it as well. And they would likely need to double their rent expenses.    You need to hope for someone like Markel or some other big corporate HQ to want to relocate from the burbs. 

Thank you, Coupe, for hitting it on all fronts. That totally makes sense.

Re: their headcount: that's more-or-less what I thought - they don't have nearly the workforce of a CoStar or a Dominion -- and they certainly don't have the deep-pocketed firepower of a CoStar or Dominion. Makes sense that if AUB were to participate in the construction of a massive downtown tower, they'd have to have at least one big time partner (or more) go all-in with them -- or -- roll the dice with spec space and pray it comes through, and I get the impression they have nowhere near the financial depth to be able to pull that one off.

I'm guessing the likelihood of a Markel or a Cap One or a Carmax or a Phillip Morris ever leaving the West End for downtown is probably in the 0.00001% range at this point, no? Especially given the cost differential, what would it take to get one of the suburban heavy-hitters to relo the corporate HQ downtown? Cap One already has a fairly large tower (something like 32 stories) in NOVA, does it not? How did we ever let them get away? Ditto CSX having moved to Tampa a number of years ago. How did we ever let those folks slip through out fingers? They were one of the original James Center participants, if memory serves.

I wonder, too, if there would be a greater chance of success in pulling an out-of-state corporate HQ relo (or an "HQ-2" situation) with a company that would be willing to set up shop downtown with a sufficiently large workforce to think about something big like this?

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