TowneBank opens for visitors

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More than seven years after moving its headquarters to Suffolk, TowneBank is finally ready to open a Suffolk banking center, its 11th in the greater Hampton Roads area.

City officials joined bank employees and invited guests Tuesday evening at a gala reception in the bank’s plush new Harbour View building, which opens for business Friday morning after a 9 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The entire 30,000-square-foot facility was open for inspection as a four-piece jazz combo provided a musical backdrop to the conversations and laughter of hundreds of invited guests.

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“[North Suffolk] is becoming a place where people want to be … and we want to be a part of it,” said P. Ward Robinett Jr., president of TowneBank of Portsmouth, who greeted visitors at the front door of the facility.

The building is the first of TowneBank’s facilities to include all of its various services under one roof, a goal the Hampton Roads-based company has had for a long time.

“We have everything from legal services to real estate to investments here,” Chairman and CEO G. Robert Aston Jr. said. “It’s very much a one-stop shop. This is really the first bank where we’ve been able to put it all together in one location.”

The facility will offer real estate services through Prudential Towne Realty, elder legal services through Oast & Hook and insurance, private banking, investments and other, more traditional, banking services in spacious offices spread throughout the building.

“We try to build our banking centers in such a way that all decisions can be made within the walls of that center,” Robinette explained.

The Suffolk location is the first the bank has found that gave it the space it needed to put all of those services under one roof, Aston said.

“Having grown up in Suffolk [on Cedar Street], it’s a nice place to do it,” he added, noting that the growth in the northern part of the city, along with the location of the bank’s headquarters nearby, made Harbour View a perfect place to launch the new concept of shared space.

In fact, the new financial center is only a part of the bank’s expansion strategy in Suffolk. Two new buildings are planned at the Member Services Center nearby, and work has already begun on the site where those buildings are planned.

About 100 people will work in the facility that opens on Friday, Aston said.