Credit union springs into plans for new HQ

//February 11, 2019

Credit union springs into plans for new HQ

//February 11, 2019

First Commonwealth plans to construct a new 81,000-square-foot mixed use building and an adjacent 5,000-square-foot financial center at 6126 Hamilton Boulevard. The credit union will initially occupy the top two floors of the mixed use building, while the first floor of the building will be available for lease as retail and office space, according to John Miller, COO for First Commonwealth.

Lower Macungie Township commissioners approved the plans in December. The new headquarters is expected to be complete in spring 2020.

The new building will consolidate the credit union’s two existing headquarters locations, at 257 Brodhead Road in Hanover Township and on Union Boulevard in the city of Allentown.

“All back office and support departments from our current headquarters will be relocated to the facility and our contact center will be relocated from our Allentown (Union Blvd.) location,” Miller said. “We will be looking to lease space on the first floor for occupancy in summer 2020.”

Miller, the executive overseeing the project, said Boyle Construction Inc. of South Whitehall Township will be the construction manager on the project.

After construction is complete, the Hanover Township location will close. The Union Boulevard office will remain open and serve as a financial center with retail services.

The new building will initially house approximately 120 employees but allows room for up to about 240.

“Our retail staff will continue to operate out of our conveniently located financial centers throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley area,” Miller said. “The second floor of the new retail location in Trexlertown will feature our investment services team.”

More assets, members, services

Founded in 1959, First Commonwealth will mark 60 years in business this year. It has been in its current corporate offices for more than 20 years. Over the same time, the credit union has seen its assets triple and services expand to include business services, digital banking, investment services, financial wellness and other retail technologies.

The credit union has more than 61,000 members and assets of roughly $721.5 million, according to the National Credit Union Administration, the industry’s federal regulator. In 1998, it had assets of about $244 million and nearly 28,000 members.

First Commonwealth has seven branches in the Greater Lehigh Valley and 170 full- and part-time employees. An eighth location – in Emmaus – is scheduled to open in April.

“We also plan on opening a ninth location in Whitehall in late 2019,” Miller said. “The location adjacent to our new headquarters would be our 10th financial center location.”

The leadership team at First Commonwealth began hunting for a new headquarters in 2017 in order to support further growth. The intent was to centralize services, improve operations and bring staff members under one roof. The team determined that a move of the credit union’s headquarters was needed, and the new location had to offer an open and collaborative environment, must be attractive to the next generation of worker, and should be in a “new retail location” to enhance the First Commonwealth brand, Miller explained.

“After careful consideration of many available sites in the Lehigh Valley, we chose this site in Lower Macungie Township because of how it addresses all the factors,” Miller said, adding that officials in Lower Macungie have been very supportive. “The area supports the type of live-work-play environment that will help us be an employer of choice in the future.”

Sean Boyle, president of Boyle Construction, said his company was appointed construction manager for the project in early January.

“We just had a meeting, and I can tell you that they want the latest and greatest technology in the building. They want to also really do some nice unique things for their employees, like a fitness center and outdoor space for meetings. They are cognizant of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient features,” Boyle said.

Boyle said that construction is expected to begin around April 1, starting with the shell of the building.