TowneBank celebrates new Richmond headquarters with a big party and a big donation
When G. Robert Aston Jr., chairman and CEO of TowneBank, started the community bank in his garage 18 years ago, he dreamed of having a nice headquarters space in downtown Richmond one day.
Fast forward to September 2016, and Aston was telling that story Thursday to a crowd of about 300 who turned out for a splashy grand opening and reception for the bank’s Richmond headquarters space at Gateway Plaza in the city’s business district.
Amid towering floral displays, tables of food and plenty of dignitaries, Aston told of how his bank had grown from 90 employees to more than 2,000. The Hampton Roads-based bank leases about 39,000 square feet in the building — Richmond’s newest office tower — on two floors. A retail banking branch and commercial and private banking office are located off the lobby on the first floor, and the company’s Richmond headquarters is located on the seventh floor.
True to the bank’s community roots, it capped off the party with a check for $500,000 to the YMCA of Greater Richmond. “We are here to make good things happen,” Aston said.
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones welcomed TowneBank to what he called the “resurgence” of Richmond. “This is a first-class building with a first-class bank. You can’t beat that,” Jones said.
Jones helped cut the ribbon and said he had spent the previous day helping to celebrate the grand opening of the former Central National Bank building on Broad Street, which has been converted to the Deco CNB apartments. Two hundred apartments are in the 23-story tower, and 100 of them have been leased, he said. “Everywhere you go there’s excitement in the city of Richmond. And now TowneBank is bringing the up close, personal service that makes you feel like your name matters. That's what they are about.”
Tim Joyce, president and CEO of the Richmond YMCA, was on hand to accept the bank’s donation. He called the $500,000 a “stunning investment” in the nonprofit’s community programs and said it would help create “equity for all of us.”
TowneBank has grown largely thorough a series of acquisitions, including its merger in June with Chesapeake-based Monarch Financial Holdings Inc., and its bank subsidiary. With the Monarch acquisition, total assets for the combined companies were about $7.58 billion.
The bank got into the Richmond-area market with its acquisition of Franklin Financial Corp., the parent company of 80-year-old Franklin Federal Savings Bank.
Chicago-based developer Clayco built the 18-story Gateway Plaza and one of its executives, Larry Chapman, attended the reception. He said it was exciting to see the 330,000-square-foot building getting closer to the point of full occupancy. The law firm of McGuireWoodsLLP leases most of the space at Gateway Plaza. There's still some space on the eighth and ninth floors, Chapman said.