HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Governor Phil Bryant announced a major economic development project that will impact the Hub City.
Bryant made the announcement at the Lake Terrace Convention Center at 11:00 a.m.
Regions Bank plans to build a 75,000 square-foot operating facility near the intersection of Lamar Boulevard and Lincoln Road.
The company plans to create 90 jobs to support their operations, according to a news released issued by Regions Bank.
The high-tech facility will be designed to accommodate Regions associates who currently work across various business groups at Regions' Kress, Front Street and Forrest Tower facilities in downtown Hattiesburg.
Regions currently employs more than 320 people in the Hattiesburg area. With the addition of new jobs, the company's operations facility is expected to house up to 420 associates after completion. The facility represents an expected capital investment of $23 million by Regions. The design of the operations center will also allow for potential expansion in the future.
"Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt Region have celebrated significant economic development wins in recent years. Regions' investment in this new facility and commitment to adding 90 new jobs, bringing the company's total employment in the city to more than 400, will benefit the local community for many years to come," Gov. Phil Bryant said.
"It is no surprise that Regions has chosen the City of Hattiesburg as the location of its new mortgage operations facility," added U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo of South Mississippi's 4th Congressional District. "I commend the Area Development Partnership (ADP), Regions and the City of Hattiesburg for the hard work they have put forth to ensure this expansion. I look forward to the continued success of Regions in the Pine Belt and the company's ongoing commitment to Lamar County, Forrest County and the City of Hattiesburg."
Construction of the operations facility is expected to begin as soon as the fourth quarter of 2017.
"Regions Bank is committed to Hattiesburg, the Pine Belt and the state of Mississippi," said Greg Garraway, South Mississippi President for Regions Bank. "People who work for Regions in Hattiesburg are dedicated to serving customers here at home and across the country. When it came time to grow and expand our operations, we knew we wanted to do so here in this community."
"We are extremely pleased that Regions has such confidence in our community and in the quality of our workforce," said Evan Dillard, Chairman of the Area Development Partnership. "The company's selection of Hattiesburg is a testament to the pro-business operating environment found here."
The property will primarily house associates from Regions Mortgage, which serves homeowners throughout the Southeast, Texas, the Midwest and beyond.
"Currently, we have people spread across several floors in three separate buildings downtown," said Morgan McCarty, Mortgage Servicing Division Manager for Regions in Hattiesburg. "Our new facility will bring everyone together under one roof in a workspace that's designed to improve communications and efficiencies across our departments."
In preparation for the development of the new facility, Regions has completed the sale of the company's Kress, Front Street and Forrest Tower facilities downtown. The company will lease back the space Regions currently occupies in those buildings, meaning Regions associates will remain in the downtown buildings until the new location is operational.
Further, Regions' will continue to maintain a bank branch in the downtown area following construction of the operations facility along Lamar Boulevard.
"Regions has served local customers from downtown for many years, and that is not going to change," Garraway said. "The plans we are announcing today will help support the continued strength and vitality of this community and the surrounding area for many years to come."
The new operations facility is a win-win for the Hattiesburg community. Not only will the more modern location enable Regions associates to serve customers more efficiently, the location will also support nearby retail and dining, bringing increased consumer traffic and benefiting the overall area.
Also, the developer purchasing the Kress, Front Street and Forrest Towers facilities downtown has long-term plans to redevelop the facilities into mixed-use residential and commercial spaces, thus helping attract new businesses and residents to the city's downtown core and encouraging continued development.
Civic leaders welcomed news of Regions' plans as the company builds on its investments in the Hattiesburg area.
"Regions has been a longtime member of the Hattiesburg community, and we applaud the company for making this new investment that will continue to benefit the area," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. "This sets the stage for continued development in two distinct areas of our city, and, in turn, the city as a whole can benefit."
"We are honored and humbled by Regions' decision to locate the bank's new mortgage facility in Lamar County," said Lamar County Supervisor Steve Lampton. "Regions selected a high-growth corridor that provides quick access to services that will be well received by current employees and new hires."
Hiring for newly created positions is expected to begin during the current quarter. Regions lists available jobs under the "Careers" section of Regions.com. The company will add additional positions as they become available.
The new facility is expected to be operational as soon as the first quarter of 2019. Newly hired associates whose positions will be housed at the operations facility will work in current Regions offices until the transition to the new space.