By TED CARTER
BancorpSouth has begun a long-planned expansion of its Fondren office at 2710 N. State St., joining a host of other nearby property owners who are either renovating buildings or constructing new ones.
Over last weekend, work crews moved the banking operation into the former Sun Gallery building to the north to make way for demolition of the current bank branch and the adjacent building to the south. The bank opened for business in its temporary home Monday morning.
Demolition of the two buildings is scheduled for the end of this week, said Brad Maley, North Metro Jackson market president for the Tupelo-based regional bank.
“The move was successful and we transitioned into our temporary facility of the weekend,” he said in an email. “We are up and running — very pleased.”
Meanwhile, BancorpSouth will soon have the architectural firm of Wier Boerner Allin as neighbors. The 6-year-old firm expects to move this summer from its suite in the Fondren Corner building at 2906 N. State St. to a two-story building at 2727 Old Canton Road. The plan is to gut the interior of the 9,000 square-foot building and redo the space to include second floor offices for the firm’s 18 employees and a rooftop terrace accessed by a stair tower, said Michael Boerner, one of the firm’s three principals.
The firm will lease the approximately 4,000 square feet on the ground floor to an undisclosed commercial tenant.
“We are just excited to be part of the renaissance” of Fondren, Boerner said. “It has really gained momentum with a handful of projects under construction and more to come.”
The new BancorpSouth building will go up on the site of the bank building just vacated and the adjacent lot to the south. And with the building’s completion, BancorpSouth will tear down the Sun Gallery building to provide additional parking and access to newly built drive-through lanes, Maley said.
“For some time we’ve wanted to improve it,” he said of the bank property. “The property on the south side – what we call ‘The Point’ – came available last year. We were able to buy it and the Sun Gallery property to the north.”
Next up, Maley said, “is a huge state-of-the-art facility that will have traditional” banking features.
The building’s second floor will include nine office suites, making it possible for the expanded location to have a residential mortgage representative and expanded lines of business such as wealth management and insurance.
“We’re going to look to have services” that will make this much more than a branch, he added.
Parking and traffic flow into the drive-through lane has always been a challenge at the North State Street branch, according to Maley, who said the revamped space will make parking and outside banking far more convenient.
“We’ll have multiple lanes” for the drive-through and cars won’t be queued up on State Street, he added.
“The flow and access for the customer is really going to be a lot smoother.”
Maley expects to keep the 2710 N. State St. bank open throughout the construction, though space is insufficient for a temporary drive-through. Nor will night drops slots be available. Drop slots, however, are nearby at BancorpSouth’s locations on Old Canton Mart, Lakeland Drive and downtown Jackson.
How long the construction will take “is a million-dollar question,” Maley said. “Any date I think would be speculative.”
BancorpSouth nonetheless wants to move quickly, he added. “We’re depending on the weather and a lot of things that are out of our control.”
Moving into the Sun Gallery building even temporarily requires BancorpSouth to meet requirements for security and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Business has been strong at the Fondren branch with steady growth in both deposits and customers. BancorpSouth “for many years has known it has been a facility in need of an upgrade,” Maley said.
“This has been something we have been trying to accomplish for a number of years,” added Maley, who joined BancorpSouth in 2005.
The break came when owners of the adjacent buildings, the State Street Group, agreed to sell them.
Construction crews will be busy throughout Fondren in the coming months if work begins as scheduled this spring on two multi-floor hotels on North State Street. Developers David Pharr and Jason Watkins have teamed with the Desai Hotel Group to build a Hampton Inn between the Pig & Pint restaurant and Butter Fly Yoga. The five-floor Hampton Inn, which will include around 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail, is to anchor the Whitney Place mixed-use project which will go up behind the row of shops on that side of State Street.
Just up the street, the nearly 60-year-old Kolb’s Cleaners building at Mitchell Avenue will be converted to serve as the lobby of The Fondren, a nine-floor, 102-room Starwood hotel planned by Jackson architect and developer Roy Decker Jr.
Developers of both hotels say they plan groundbreakings this spring.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info