CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- MVB Bank, a small but fast-growing neighborhood bank from Fairmont, is hoping to compete with the big boys in Charleston.
If the company can get a zoning change approved next month, it plans to open a branch office in a new three-story office building at the corner of Washington and Margaret streets, across from a Town Center parking garage.
"It's still in the infancy stages," MVB CEO Larry Mazza said of the Charleston branch plan, which the company has not yet formally announced.
"What we're trying to do is acquire the property at 400 Washington St., the former BB&T property. It's been vacant for a year, maybe 18 months."
The irregularly shaped lot, nearly an acre in size, is home to a one-story walk-in and drive-through bank facility originally built by Magnet Bank, probably in the 1980s.
"It was a 3,700-square-foot building," Mazza said. "It was a great location for them -- easy in, easy out, near the Interstate. That kind of piqued our interest."
But traffic patterns changed and the branch became a victim of banking industry mergers -- Atlantic Financial, then One Valley Bank and BB&T, whose West Virginia headquarters is just a few blocks away. "They didn't need it anymore," Mazza said.
Dewitt Blundon, an agent with CBRE, said the property has been listed for more than a year at $1.2 million. We've had some other interest, but nothing serious," he said.
MCB hopes to tear the existing burgundy and white building down and start over. But first, they want the site rezoned from C-4 (neighborhood commercial) to C-8 (village commercial district).
"We need to upgrade the zoning," Mazza said. "We want to have C-8 to have an up-to-date facility that represents us and Charleston well. We'd like to build a new facility there, what we'd call a marquee facility for us. It's not going to be Laidley Tower; don't get me wrong."
Initial plans call for a three-story office building of about 21,000 square feet, with drive-through lanes and parking lot. MVB wouldn't need the whole building, though.
"We will lease some space, anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 square feet. It would be A-grade-type office. It could be a business-type tenant -- insurance to law to accounting. We do not have it leased yet."
Mazza wouldn't say how much the building might cost, except to say "in the millions." By rough estimate, a building that size could cost more than $4 million, plus land acquisition.