South State Bank unveils new downtown digs

Bobby Cowgill, South State Bank’s market president for Richmond. (Photos courtesy South State Bank)

A South Carolina-based bank has a glassy new space to call home in Richmond.

South State Bank, which arrived in the local market a year ago after its acquisition of Park Sterling Bank, this week unveiled its 10,000-square-foot office at One James Center at 901 E. Cary St. downtown.

It marked the occasion with an event in the space Thursday evening, with CEO Robert Hill and President Greg Lapointe flying in from the company’s headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina.

The bank helps anchor the second level of the modernized first-floor entryway and mezzanine in the 21-story building, which has been undergoing renovations for much of the last year at the hands of the owner, Riverstone Properties.

South State helps anchor the second level of One James Center.

South State moved into the newly completed space last month, which allowed it to vacate its first-floor branch and combine all of its business lines onto one level in the building.

Bobby Cowgill, the bank’s Richmond market president, said about 25 employees work at the downtown space. Some of them came over from its Innsbrook office on Cox Road, which will continue to house about 20 employees.

The bank also has added seven employees in the last 12 months, Cowgill said. The new office at James Center helped with that process, he said.

“It’s been a great recruiting tool – knowing that this space was coming,” Cowgill said.

After a year since the South State brand arrived in town, Cowgill said the bank has had success attracting business, particularly on the commercial side.

He said South State has made Richmond a point of focus in its overall growth plans, along with Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.

South State moved into the new space last month.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum,” he said. “Richmond is one of the main growth engines for the bank.”

Riverstone’s Bruce Boykin said other changes are in the works across all three of the James Center towers.

The company is close to signing a new restaurant tenant to take over the former Wendy’s space in One James Center.

Renovations on the atrium that connects Two James Center and Three James Center are expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The group also has had luck in recent months signing new office tenants into sizable leases, including architecture firm Baskervill, law firm Whiteford Preston & Taylor, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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