The open design of the branch does not include a traditional teller line. Instead of waiting to be called to a counter, when people walk into the branch, they are greeted face-to-face by a local Regions banker.
The Regions branch to be built at the intersection of West Center and Clinchfield Streets is expected to open by the end of 2019, when banking operations will transfer from Regions’ current 415 Broad Street facility at Church Circle to the new location. Regions sold the Broad Street facility to the City of Kingsport in 2018.
Right now, Regions Bank is looking for a downtown location to build a new office and according to the timeline, Kingsport plans to fully occupy the Regions building by the summer of 2020.
Kingsport is facing more than $2.1 million in maintenance and repairs to four city buildings, along with an additional $1 million in ADA compliance work. A two-part plan to solve the problem was laid out — merge the six city offices into the Regions Bank building and consolidate all court functions from City Hall into an expanded Justice Center.
Kingsport has contracted with Cain Rash West of Kingsport to conduct a study of all city facilities to see what ADA upgrades are needed. In a report to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen last month, Ryan McReynolds said city hall, the Improvement building and Midland Center would need at least $1 million in upgrades.
The existing city hall is co-owned by both Kingsport and Sullivan County, with the county having about a 19 percent stake in the building. In addition to the court functions, Sullivan County has a county clerk's office and a trustee's office on the first floor of the building.
Though many more questions remain about the project, two significant ones immediately come to mind – will there be enough parking for the public and what's going to happen to the existing drive-thru at the bank?
Should Kingsport purchase the Regions bank building on Broad Street, consolidate government offices into it and then sell off the unneeded facilities, including City Hall? The BMA will consider a non-binding letter of intent with Regions Bank at its regular meeting Tuesday night. The asking price for their building on Broad Street is $2.7 million.