United Community Bank chairman and CEO Lynn Harton says that though the bank’s planned flagship building overlooking the Reedy River on East Camperdown will be something Greenville can be proud of, his first thought has and continues to be the investment the bank is making in its employees.
“It is a great piece of property overlooking the river there and is certainly visible,” he says. “We’re excited about that. I don’t think about the building making a statement, necessarily to the community, but what I wanted was a place where people wanted to come to work. We’re a very connected company. My belief is people like to work with people they like … I wanted the building to be a place that signifies that. My first audience that I thought about was employees.”
“We say we want to be a great place to work for great people and I wanted this to be a great place for great people.” – Lynn Harton, UCB chairman and CEO
The fast-growing bank (they’ll hit about $3.2 billion in market capitalization pending completion of a few mergers early next year) needs the new space, which will be home to about 300 employees by the time they move in early 2024.
“We’re already out of space here,” he says of the company’s various downtown locations including One City Plaza and the Palmetto building. “By the time we move into the building, I expect us to be moving in from four different locations.”
Building fast facts:
- Address: 200 E. Camperdown Way
- 117,000 square feet
- Seven stories
- 154-space parking garage; 200+ more across the street
And when they do finally occupy the new site, employees will have much to enjoy.
Plans show light, airy spaces where employees can gather, Harton says, and of course, the 117,000 square-foot-building, itself, is designed according to WELL health safety standards.
“Everybody’s heard of ‘LEED’ but ‘WELL’ focuses on the entire person,” he says. “Whether it’s the quality of snacks in the snack room or the ability for employees to have time to exercise and do other things … the light, ventilation, ventilation systems.”
Of course, there will be a coffee bar, he says. But the key to it all? Creating connections. Employees will all use the same building entrance and a grand staircase will connect the various office floors. There will be elevators, he says, but the staircase is the focus.
“We wanted a place where everybody comes in and kinda breathes a sigh ‘Wow, this is light-filled, I’m right here at the river, I’ve got this great coffee bar … I’ve got a lot of great people around me,'” he says. “I just want it to be their home.”
His favorite aspect?
“I really like the first floor and the connection to the outside … the coffee bar. That’s to me, the favorite thing,” he says, joking he is not only a coffee drinker, he’s a coffee mainliner.
He says UCB expects to break ground in early 2022 and a parking area across the street is already underway.
Cost estimates are not yet public.
“We’re not sure yet, we’re crossing our fingers,” he says, laughing. “We have estimates that I would not want to publish at this time but we’re seeing a little slackening in material prices and whatnot. But, we’re highly confident with Harper [General Contractors], known them for a long time” he says. “Having a staging ground will help, we’ll be able to store a lot of materials on site.”
“It’s going to be fun.”