AUGUSTA, GA. - Customers visiting First Bank of Georgia's new headquarters Monday passed through four giant columns as they entered.
"They symbolize a strong institution," architect Richard Hinman said at the bank's grand opening.
The four-story building at 3527 Wheeler Road houses both First Bank's headquarters and the base for its parent company, Georgia-Carolina Bancshares Inc.
It's the sixth banking location for the company, but the first time the leaders of the bank and its holding company will share the same offices, said Patrick G. Blanchard, Georgia-Carolina's president and CEO.
Mr. Blanchard expects the new headquarters to serve as a major hub for customers.
The company's Daniel Village branch has received $70 million in deposits in the past six years.
He said the new location should reach $100 million in deposits in five years.
The 25,000-square-foot building was designed by Mr. Hinman's Studio 3 Design Group and was built in the past year, he said. It cost about $4 million to build, Mr. Blanchard said.
The first floor is for the bank, executive offices and drive-through teller. The second floor contains accounting and mortgage offices, and the third floor has human resources and the board room.
"The plans are to lease the fourth-floor space as we continue to grow," Mr. Blanchard said. Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Corp., which is handling leasing for the 5,200-square-foot top floor, said it has received interest in the space.
Wheeler Road is not without competition. Across the street is Georgia Bank & Trust Co.'s headquarters, and next door is a Wachovia branch.
"It proves those companies think this is a good location," Mr. Blanchard said.
Visitors to the new building can find Mr. Blanchard or First Bank President and CEO Remer Brinson on the first floor.
"You got to be where the customers are," Mr. Brinson said.