Commissioners hope the former BB&T Call Center on U.S. 701 won’t stay empty for very long.
The county board voted Monday to purchase the BB&T Campus for $1.25 million, roughly half its tax value and significantly below market price.
“I think this is going to be a good thing for the county,” said board chair Rickey Bullard. “We have several possible uses for it.”
With little discussion outside of closed session, the board unanimously voted to make the move. The proposal, brought by Economic Development Director Gary Lanier, was put on the commissioner’s agenda last week.
BB&T Truist Bank closed the call center March 29 as all operations were moved to the new facility on J.K. Powell Boulevard in Whiteville.
The building could potentially be home to new businesses as well as some county offices, Bullard said. The facility has a large garage and shop, as well as recently updated offices and extensive digital infrastructure.
BB&T was building the new facility in Whiteville when the joint venture with Truist was announced. All Whiteville operations have been moved to the new building, including staff who were in the two branches and the iconic glass tower downtown.
Currently, county offices and services are scattered in several locations around Whiteville. The county has been discussing building a new maintenance garage on property behind the Animal Shelter on Legion Drive, or possibly behind the sheriff’s office on Washington Street. The Department of Aging is located near the sheriff’s office and the board of education, at Legion Drive and Washington Street. The Board of Elections is currently in leased property on U.S. 701 North, but is expected to move back to its offices at Legion and Washington. The Health Department is located on Jefferson near the hospital. County administrative offices are on Washington Street near the courthouse. Social Services is in the county complex between Madison Street and Powell Boulevard north of the U.S. 74-76 Bypass.
The exact future of the call center campus has not been confirmed, Bullard said, “but we’re excited.
“This is going to be a big benefit for the people of Columbus County,” he said. “There are several routes that we can take, and I think each one is going to be good for our county.”