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Community First Credit Union Expands in LaVilla with Real Estate Purchase

By: Maria Coppola, APR, CPRC

Posted on 11/21/2019 11:29:10 AM

The Credit Union was founded and has been headquartered in Downtown since 1935

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 21, 2019Community First Credit Union, Downtown Jacksonville’s longest continuously operating financial institution, has closed on a deal to expand its headquarters campus, which has been in LaVilla since 2002. Community First purchased the former Elkins Building known now as the Diamond-S building at 701 W. Adams St.

Community First acquired the 1.7-acre lot and the 32,300-square-foot, two-story building and its adjacent parking lot. The building at the corner of Adams and Jefferson is about six blocks from the existing headquarters at Lee and Beaver Streets. The deal closed at $4.6 million. NAI Hallmark represented Community First in the deal.

Buying the Diamond-S building allows the credit union to continue to invest in Downtown and LaVilla. It provides an immediate solution to its current at-capacity headquarters space. It also provides additional walkability for its employees. Repurposing this existing, nearly vacant building makes economic sense for the credit union, which is member owned. Community First estimated the cost of property and a newly constructed building at more than double the cost of repurposing an existing building.

“This property is an ideal location situated within blocks of the credit union’s current HQ,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First. “We anticipate doubling our size in membership and assets during the next decade and this building should meet our future growth needs. Community First is using technology and increased efficiency in preparing for a future workforce.”

In 2002, Community First had a total of 188 employees which has grown to 340, a 80% growth. Since 2002 its assets have grown 297% from $605 million to $1.8 billion in November 2019. The growth along with efficiency gains have provided higher quality, higher wage jobs and returned more value to the credit union’s membership.

The acquired building is slated for a major interior and exterior renovation. When complete, it will house the expanded headquarters’ administrative and operations offices. TTV Architects is designing the building’s new interior and exterior.

Community First has been headquartered in Downtown Jacksonville since 1935. In 2002, it converted its Main Street Branch to a banking services branch and moved its headquarters to the current location at 637 N. Lee St. near the LaVilla School of the Arts.

More than 180 Community First employees work in the Downtown/LaVilla headquarters. The new building will initially house about 75 employees when it is complete and will allow for future headquarters expansion.

Community First Credit Union of Florida is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the 10 largest credit unions in the state, serving more than 144,000 members and with assets of $1.8 billion. Community First has 19 locations and 340 employees. A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages and investments for consumers and businesses throughout the First Coast. For more information visit www.CommunityFrstFL.org. 

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