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First Citizens Bank, 700 Charleston Highway: circa 2006   1 comment

Posted at 12:58 am in business

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My first thought at seeing this former First Citizens branch at the corner of the Charleston Highway and Platt Springs Road was that there must be some sort of sporting event in the area as the lot was packed full of cars taking advantage of the Sunday bank closure to park there.

A closer inspection revealed the actual facts, which are that the bank is gone, and the lot is being used as an impromptu (I could see no business sign at least..) used car lot. I've heard the old GM described as a bank that sold some cars, perhaps the concept is spreading...

Written by ted on March 7th, 2013

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Capital Bank, 4840 Forest Drive: September 2012 (open, but remodeling)   no comments

Posted at 12:13 am in business

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I noticed while at Starbucks the other night that the one of Trenholm Plaza's three banks, Capital Bank, while remainging open, is doing major remodeling.

I believe that Capital Bank is a fairly new name for this building, which has been a number of different banks over the years.

Written by ted on September 11th, 2012

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WalMart / NetBank, 9710 Two Notch Road: 27 September 2007   4 comments

Posted at 11:23 pm in business,stores

I have done a couple of other posts on this mostly dead strip mall on Two Notch at Polo called Park Centre. In particular, here is Piggly Wiggly / Harris Teeter (and Bruno's), and here is Pic 'N Pay.

Neither of those was the strip's main tenant however. That was initially Walmart and then after that, NetBank.

Of course everyone is familiar with Walmart and their gradual move to bigger "Supercenter" locations. That, I believe is what happened to this location: It was replaced by the Supercenter at 10060 Two Notch Road.

I was not as familiar with NetBank which moved in after Walmart moved, probably in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

To summarize the NetBank Wikipedia page, NetBank was an Atlanta/Alpharetta based operation which started as Atlanta Internet Bank and Net.B@nk before settling on the NetBank name. It was a very early venture into Internet banking and mainly made its money from mortgages.

It did quite well for a while, but eventually overextended itself and got into trouble as its core mortgage business started to fail (though this was a little before the main 2008 mortgage crisis). After flailing for a while, it decided to sell itself off to another bank, but found it didn't even have enough to bring to the table to pull that off and ended up being taken over by the Office of Thrift Supervision on 27 September 2007, becoming the biggest thrift failure since the S&L crisis of the 80s.

This site was a big enough part of its assets that it was mentioned in the Bloomberg article on its failure as part of the asset base to be sold off. After the takeover, the FDIC insured accounts were acquired by ING Direct.

According to commenter Soxinsc, Blue Cross/Blue Shield leased the NetBank space for a while, and there does still seem to be some sort of front desk with signs of use in there though I find it odd that the NetBank logo was never taken down if someone else did have the building..

Written by ted on November 18th, 2011

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Wachovia, Everywhere: September 2011   7 comments

Posted at 6:41 pm in business

The weekend of September 17 2011, all of Columbia's Wachovia locations unveiled their new Wells Fargo signs and the transition which had been forgone since the 2008 merger/rescue was complete.

In reading the Wikipedia entry for Wachovia, I learned a number of things including the fact that "Wachovia" is an old German/Moravian term for the area of North Carolina including Winston-Salem and that Wachovia, like many banks, has a complicated history.

The short version is that the entity that became known as Wachovia started in the Winston-Salem area, eventually bought First Atlanta and became a regional power with headquaters in both Atlanta and Winston-Salem.

In 2001 Wachovia merged with First Union, a bank with its own complicated history. Although technically First Union was the entity which survived, the new company took the Wachovia name and went on an acquisitions spree.

One of these acquisitions was the mortgage firm Golden West which proved to be a poison pill, cratering within Wachovia as the housing bubble burst. This put Wachovia in the position of needing more cash just exactly at the time Washington Mutual failed and dried up all investment cash for banks. I'm not entirely sure I understand what happened next, but the government intervened and tied Wachovia up with Citigroup, a pairing that somehow unravelled when Wells Fargo entered the picture and acquired Wachovia instead.

Or in the end, it could simply be that Wachovia had the bad fortune never to be written into a beloved Broadway show...

Written by ted on October 3rd, 2011

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Bank of America, 3336 Millwood Avenue: 8 April 2011   3 comments

Posted at 1:40 am in business

The sign on this former Bank of America branch dates the closing to 8 April 2011, but if I hadn't seen that, I could have almost sworn I used this ATM several months after that. At any rate, I certainly didn't notice that the place was gone until this week. (And it has been gone long enough that the grass is unkempt, and the building starting to deteriorate [though someone is still tending the flowers in the sidewalk patch]). The building is on an odd triangular shaped lot at the sharply angled corner where Millwood Avenue hits Devine Street, and as I recall, it could be a chore to get in and out of, depending on where you were coming from and trying to get to.

I'm not sure why the branch was closed, but from what I can tell of the news, Bank of America in general continues to be in a pickle due both to bad luck and bad practices during the run-up and aftermath of the housing boom. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what goes in here. It might be a nice place for a restaurant as this stretch of Devine doesn't really have any.

UPDATE 13 March 2014 -- It's to be a Dunkin' Donuts, the sign was going up today:

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Written by ted on September 3rd, 2011

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Carolina First Bank / Willis Chiro Med, 7171 Two Notch Road: 2010   5 comments

Posted at 12:09 am in business

This smallish building on a Two Notch side Columbia Mall outparcel was obviously once a bank. I really like the design, especially the endpiece which sits closest to Two Notch, and which looks like a grooved VHS cassette stood up against the rest of the building. It's just a nice little grace note that gives the building a certain retro aesthetic (it was supposedly built in 1967 which would predate the mall itself by around ten years).

WIllis Chiro Med was in the building for a number of years, something I would vaguely notice driving by. I'm not exactly sure when they closed, but given that they are listed in the current 2011 phonebook, it must have been well into 2010.

Written by ted on March 28th, 2011

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Bank of America, 6614 Garners Ferry Road: late 2000s   15 comments

Posted at 12:02 am in business

I've been with Bank of America since it was North Carolina National Bank though it seems to change names often enough that sometimes I just think of it as North Carolina Nations Bank of America (actually there are even more other names it has absorbed as well). I'm afraid they haven't had a very good last few years, and I suspect it will be a while before they start absorbing anyone else (and indeed, it could go the other way..).

None of which is appropos as to why I have no memory at all of ever having seen this branch at Landmark Square before I noticed it closed driving down Garners Ferry Road the other day.

UPDATE 1 Oct 2010: According to The State, this building is to become a Krispy Kreme. (The story is a bit vague on whether it will be a full Hot Dougnuts Now! location, or will get doughnuts bussed in from Cayce).

UPDATE 9 March 2011 -- Work has started, presumably on the Krispy Kreme conversion:

UPDATE 28 March 2011 -- Work proceeds, and the official Krispy Kreme "coming soon" sign is up:

UPDATE 20 May 2011 -- The Krispy Kreme is open!

Written by ted on February 24th, 2010

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Commercial Bank & Trust / First Citizens Bank, Forest Lake Shopping Center: 1980s   2 comments

Posted at 10:21 pm in historic,stores

I'm not entirely sure of the details, but when I was growing up, my parents had two different banks. I suppose they had each had accounts before getting married, and decided to keep them, or perhaps there were different banks for checking and for savings (the family definitely had passbook accounts at Standard Savings & Loan). At any rate, First Citizens at Forest Lake seemed to be the one my mother stopped at most often to cash checks when in the car with us kids.

From time to time, she would go inside (and perforce drag us with her), but usually she would go through the drive-through, which we always looked forward to since the teller would usually pass out a sucker to each of us along with my mother's cash.

This particular branch of First Citizens was a bit unusual in that the drive-throughs were staffed seperately from the main building. As you can see, there was a little outbuilding by the drive-through lanes. I doubt very much that it was plumbed; I imagine the tellers had to make a trip back to the main building when nature called. Of course in those days bankers' hours were short enough that it probably wasn't a big issue.

I think the lane that was on the side of the building facing Trenholm was a drive-through as well and would have been staffed from the main building, but if I recall correctly, it was harder to get in and out of (and it may have been simply a night depository lane rather than a real teller window).

My memory on timings is always very suspect, but I think this branch closed before the main part of Forest Lake Shopping Center (with Campbell's Drugs etc) was torn down and a new First Citizens was built there, so that there was a period whn First Citizens didn't have a branch in the neighborhood.

I'm a little hazy on what happened after the bank left. I think there were a few tenants in the building before the current arrangements gelled, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I think the current clients have been there for at least the last ten years: A gallery and frame shop in the "main" building, and a garden shop in the outbuilding, teller lanes and the rest of the exterior.

I was a little surprised that the garden shop made it, as I would have guessed that that space was really to constricted to work with, but they have really prospered. I suppose the closure of Forest Lake Garden Center around where the Lazy Boy store now is opened up the area for a new store. I've been to the garden shop a few times (this spring for a pair of gloves, last year for some mint plants), but I've never been in the gallery. I like art galleries, but I always have the feeling that if one is small enough that I'll be the only person in there other than the proprietor, I'll feel like I need to buy something..

Oh, and that Flood Hazard Area sign?

They weren't kidding:

UPDATE 19 October 2013 -- Just found out the original name of this place was Commercial Bank & Trust so I have added that to the post title. Here's a picture of it in operation from 1964.

Written by ted on August 14th, 2008

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