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Prime property at busy Veterans Parkway intersection lands new business

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer - 6/22/2018

June 22--A little more than a year after retreating from its brick-and-mortar presence in Columbus, USAA's prime former financial center building at 6501 Veterans Parkway has landed another business.

Vienna, Va.-based Navy Federal Credit Union will be taking the prime spot at the intersection of Veterans and Whittlesey Road. The credit union is relocating from 5550 Whittlesey Blvd., adjacent to retailer T.J. Maxx at Columbus Park Crossing.

A city building permit shows Navy Federal is spending $750,000 to prepare the 5,000-square-foot building for its opening. That should be in August, Hannah Swanson, a media representative for the credit union, confirmed Thursday.

Navy Federal, which dates to 1933, also has a satellite office at 3515 Victory Drive, which is inside a Walmart Supercenter. The credit union has 317 branch locations, according to its website, with about 7.8 million members worldwide.

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"I think it's good for them to know that they're open to all branches of the military. Active duty, veterans, retirees and their families are eligible to join," Swanson said.

That's similar to San Antonio, Texas-based USAA, which arrived in Columbus in December 2013, then departed in April of last year after making a companywide decision to eliminate most of its brick-and-mortar locations in favor of online and digital banking and a network of ATMs. The property that Navy Federal is taking has infrastructure in place for drive-thru ATMs.

Columbus attorney Ken Henson, who owns the 6501 Veterans Parkway property, said he was fortunate that as USAA was leaving, Navy Federal was seeking new space to grow its Columbus business. USAA remained under a lease on the building.

"I wasn't going to let USAA go," he said. "They still had six or seven years left on their lease. So we could have just left it empty for six or seven years and just collected checks. But it was better that somebody else move in, and it worked out."

Navy Federal's lease is for just under 10 years, Henson said.

"Clearly, the retailers think that's a real strong area," he said. "If Navy Federal didn't take it, somebody else would have come along."

Georgia Department of Transportation traffic counts show that between 29,000 and 35,000 vehicles pass through that portion of Veterans Parkway each day. Columbus Park Crossing and the surrounding area is a major draw for shoppers and restaurant diners.

Navy Federal Credit Union employs more than 17,000 globally. It has ranked high on "Best Employers" and "Best Companies to Work For" lists, including No. 10 recently by Forbes and No. 42 by Fortune. It also ranked high on workplace lists for Millennials and women.

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(c)2018 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.)

Visit the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.) at www.ledger-enquirer.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 
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