Paula C. Squires
Gateway Financial Holdings Inc. plans to move its corporate headquarters into a new office tower at Town Center of Virginia Beach. The parent company of Gateway Bank & Trust Co. would lease 50,000 square feet on two floors, plus additional space on the ground level for a local branch, making it the anchor tenant for what would be the center’s third high-rise tower.
Now located at a temporary site in Virginia Beach, Gateway operates 35 branches. Twelve of its 20 branches in Virginia are located in Hampton Roads. The financial services company, which also offers insurance, mortgage banking and title insurance services, also has pushed into neighboring North Carolina with 15 branches in the Outer Banks, Raleigh and Wilmington. The town center location “is right in the middle of our franchise, demographically,” said Gateway’s CEO D. Ben Berry. “It’s a good fit.”
He likes nearby amenities, including restaurants and the new Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. “There’s a major law firm I understand that will be going in there, too,” added Berry.
The company reported $1.87 billion in assets for year-end 2007. It hopes to move into the proposed 22-story tower by the fourth quarter of 2010. The move would create 67 jobs, with 46 of the positions relocating from North Carolina. According to the city of Virginia Beach, Gateway would make a capital investment of more than $7.1 million in the project.
Town center developer Armada Hoffler expects to break ground on the $100 million plus tower in six months. The commercial real estate construction company would invest about $75 million, says marketing director Danya Bushey. The remainder of the money for the 364,000-square-foot project and parking garage would come from public sources, she added, and tax increment financing. A final development agreement, spelling out what portion Virginia Beach might pay for public parking, must go before the City Council for approval.
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