Monday, November 14, 2011

Airpark space ready for business

By Joy Campbell, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Friday, November 11, 2011 12:35 AM CST

U.S. Bank Home Mortgage will start conducting business in the second phase of its new building in the Mid-America Airpark on Monday.

And the company expects to continue to add jobs at “a much more measured pace” in the coming months, said Bob Smiley, the mortgage company’s executive vice president.

About 300 people have been hired since July 2010 when corporate, city and state officials announced 500 more jobs would be added through their partnership.

Originally, the mortgage company expected to hire 500 people by 2014, but it probably will reach that number much sooner than that, Smiley said.

The city of Owensboro and the state are providing incentives for the growing mortgage company based on its adding 500 jobs to its 1,000-plus work force in Owensboro.

Part of the city’s incentive package was to build the 81,300-square-foot financial services office building on the southwest corner of Tamarack and Carter roads for the mortgage company to lease.

The construction was planned in two phases with the mortgage company’s growth triggering the timing for the expansion.

The company moved into 47,900 square feet of space on March 28 of this year and was ready to start Phase II of the economic development project by June, Smiley said.

“In Phase II, we’ll have about 275 spots, but we’ll be relocating about 220 people from the Frederica Street and Moreland,” he said. “So, we’ll have room for expansion in all of our locations.

We’ve been holding off on some new hires because of space.”

Smiley said he’s pleased with the new building and the partnership with the city.

“The new section is a duplicate of the first phase except for the center where we have our administrative offices and training room to serve the entire facility,” he said. “If you walk into the building today, you wouldn’t know it was built in phases.”

The price tag for Phase I of the call center was $4.87 million. A&K Construction of Paducah won the original bid to construct it, and the company’s proposal included the 33,400-square-foot add-on for Phase II at a cost of $2.8 million.

“A & K did a great job and were on budget and on schedule,” said Tony Cecil, the city’s operations manager.”We contracted with a local architectural firm, RBS Design of Owensboro, to do our project management, and that helped tremendously. They always had eyes on it.”

The expansion features work space for more personnel and restrooms.

“Working with U.S. Bank has been a pleasant experience,” Cecil said. “It went better than we anticipated. We don’t typically do a lot of joint ventures, so to have this public-private partnership to be so successful is encouraging for future partnerships.”

The mortgage company has had good luck in filling positions, Smiley said.

U.S. Bank now has openings throughout the mortgage business, he said. Applications are available online at

State and city incentives for the project amount to $6 million. U.S. Bank has said it intends to invest $14.1 million at the location.