BB&T to consolidate local operations into new $20 million building along J.K. Powell Blvd.

BB&T announced Tuesday it will consolidate its Whiteville-area operations into a new $20 million facility that will be built at the intersection of J.K. Powell Blvd. and Columbus Street in Whiteville.

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BB&T announced Tuesday it will consolidate its Whiteville-area operations into a new $20 million facility that will be built at the intersection of J.K. Powell Blvd. and Columbus Street in Whiteville.

The 100,000-square-foot building will house the 500 BB&T employees who currently work in nine locations in the Whiteville area, including its Client Care Center on U.S. 701 N.

 Phil Marion, BB&T southeastern Regional president, speaks at a press conference in Whiteville Tuesday. Staff photo by Les High

Phil Marion, BB&T southeastern Regional president, speaks at a press conference in Whiteville Tuesday. Staff photo by Les High

“We’re going to combine all of our facilities that we have here into this one amazing center, so our headquarters, our care centers will all come [together as] one family working here to serve our clients,” said Donta Wilson, BB&T chief client experience officer, at a press conference on the Kramer Soccer Field.

The soccer field, as well as an adjacent flea market and former bowling alley will be the site for the new L-shaped building, which will front J.K. Powell Blvd. and Columbus Street. The property is owned by Gary and Robin Kramer.

The bank expects to begin site work on the project during the first quarter of 2019 with an opening date yet to be determined.

“We made a commitment years ago that we wanted to make Whiteville a home for BB&T in a significant way, and we’ve done that,” said Phil Marion, BB&T southeastern Regional president. “And this [announcement] is very symbolic of that continued commitment. To me, this should be looked at as very positive news not only for Whiteville, but Columbus County, southeastern North Carolina and the state of North Carolina.”

Marion said decisions haven’t been finalized about the future of the bank’s current facilities in Whiteville.

“We will sort that out in the future,” he said when asked specifically about the multi-story glass headquarters on Columbus Street. “Today we don’t have plans for that, but we will continue to evaluate it and we’ll make that decision in due time.”

During the press conference, the bank presented a $1 million ceremonial check to Southeastern Community College President Tony Clarke and representatives from the community colleges in Bladen, Robeson and Sampson counties. The four colleges will share the funds to “train and prepare students to be workforce ready, potentially for BB&T’s Client Care Center, and other businesses requiring these skills,” a BB&T press release stated.

In an interview after the press conference, Marion suggested the training could help attract new employers that would utilize BB&T’s existing facilities.

“We’re trying to help these community colleges create a technology curriculum to help not only BB&T for its needs but other companies that would choose to relocate here,” he said. “These are magnificent facilities. You have BB&T, the eighth largest [bank] in America building a state-of-the art facility. You have city hall, who chose to go on the other side of our existing campus. So, I see a bright future for Whiteville and what we’re doing here.”