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Monday, May 16, 2016
The subject of today’s new building report was driving me a little crazy. It’s a new bank with a drive-thru at 701 Mutual Court in North Raleigh: certainly nothing exciting, but something about it stuck in my head.
I could’ve sworn I’d written about it, maybe even recently. The site plan was filed before the Development Beat even existed, so it wasn’t that. Keyword searches of this site turned up nothing and I finally realized: someone had emailed me about this, not even two weeks ago.
The sitework must have started for this project, the site of which was said to be located “on Strickland Road, near the intersection with Falls of Neuse… next to West Millbrook Middle School..”
That email was sent May 3. On May 12, a permit valued at $2,463,195 was issued to McDonald-York Construction for the new 8,675 square-foot structure.
This will apparently be the second Raleigh location of the Greenville-based community bank, which describes itself as “a full-service bank with offices across the United States. We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial, retail banking, and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers.”
However, that other Raleigh location we mentioned is described on the bank’s website as a “loan production office;” Google Streetview shows an office rather than a bank at the address.
Also on its website, Union Bank & Trust boasts of having assets in excess of $120 billion. Yowza. Which actually calls to mind something that occurred to me when I first looked into this project a few weeks ago. Is it safe to have, essentially, a prime target for armed robbery located right next to a middle school, full of innocent children?
Maybe I watch too many movies, but this just seems like a setup for a really bad situation. I don’t know what an ideal location for a bank would be, maybe next to a CrossFit studio, where the thieves would be too afraid too take hostages?
The new bank is actually smaller than was originally called for on the site plans, which described it as coming in at a total of 12,000 square feet and standing 28′ tall.
The drawings included on the site plans indicate the new branch will be two stories tall, and, as mentioned, include a drive-thru.
It should be noted that the site plans I’m referring to, SP63-13, were put together by a different developer and weren’t specifically for a Union Branch & Trust. In fact, I called that original developer after getting the email earlier this month, and he told me he was no longer involved but knew it was going to be another bank.
So why keep referring to it? Well…it’s a site plan for a retail bank with a drive-thru on the exact same site Union Branch & Trust is getting built. How different is it going to really be? Banks are no longer the architectural marvels they once were.
A while back, I wrote about the puzzling proliferation of Mattress Stores in and around Raleigh; I also included a breakdown on some of the other store types that seem to be popping up faster than Gremlins from a wet Mogwai. There’s 273 storage facilities in Raleigh, for example. 187 coffee shops. 186 drugstores. And so on.
One category I left out was banks. Like pharmacies, new bank branches seem to crop up along every thoroughfare throughout the wealthier suburbs of Raleigh (and the country at large). I tried using the same website (Factual.com) that provided the data on coffee shops, storage facilities and mattress stores to find out the number of banks, but the first search was… less than successful.
Included among the 840 results were a number of Jos A. Bank clothing stores, several food banks and even a listing for Banks Road Elementary School.
Fortunately, I stumbled across a filter that let me limit the result to “financial” and “banking and finance” results only. It kicked out 442 results in Raleigh. While there were no food banks or Joseph A. Banks among the results, it did include a number of ATMs, so its not exactly an official accounting.
Still, there’s a lot of banks in Raleigh, but the biggest mystery about them is one I was reminded of when looking at the elevation drawings for the new Union Branch & Trust: why do so many of them need two stories?
I won’t pretend to understand why banks need so many retail outlets to begin with — I imagine it has a lot to do with selling loans and mortgages — but when you’re one of 22 Wells Fargo branches in Raleigh, do you really need so many people on staff that a second floor is required?
Or are they just for show, like the weird exterior facades at the Holly Park Shopping Center on Wake Forest Road? We’ll probably never know.