Thursday, March 31, 2011

Go-ahead given for U.S. Bank expansion

Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:20 AM CDT
The city of Owensboro now has the green light to construct the second phase of the building it is leasing to U.S. Bank Home Mortgage in the Mid-America Airpark.

The expansion paves the way for about 275 more jobs.

Start date on the $2.8 million expansion is May 2 with completion expected Sept. 16, said Tony Cecil, the city's operations manager.

"This is great news," Mayor Ron Payne said Tuesday. "To follow up last week's ribbon-cutting of Phase I in that beautiful facility and then be notified today that they're ready to move ahead with Phase II, is just great news for the city."

Payne said it solidifies more than 500 new jobs for Owensboro.

The home mortgage servicing company announced in July that it would invest more than $14 million and create 500 positions through an incentive partnership with the city and state.

The state and city together are giving the company more than $6 million for the expansion.

Hiring for the first phase started earlier this month when 150 of 250 jobs in the first group were opened.

New U.S. Bank mortgage employees will earn $12 to $14 per hour, including benefits, base and incentive pay, according to Executive Vice-President Bob Smiley.

"We've had a lot of good news in the last few days," the mayor said. "The state announcing that it will award the contract for widening Southtown Boulevard -- it's just great."

The City Commission already has taken action to allow construction on the second phase to start, Payne said.

In August 2009, the City Commission approved spending up to $12.5 million to build the call center on 13.5 acres in the MidAmerica Airpark.

The Phase I building, which opened for business Monday, is 47,900 square feet and cost $4.87 million.

A&K Construction of Paducah won the original bid to construct the call center, and the company's proposal included an add-on for Phase II of $2.8 million, Cecil said.

The construction company originally only guaranteed its price for six months, but representatives have agreed to honor that price, Cecil said.

"We're going to initiate that add-on option and ask for a change order to move forward," he said.

A&K will add 33,400 square feet and build 204 more parking spaces.

"Basically, it's an expansion for more employee work spaces and restrooms," Cecil said.

When the 525 new jobs are filled, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage's employment will be about 1,600.