Whitney Bank is moving its regional headquarters from downtown Lafayette to River Ranch, but what remains to be seen is the fate of the bank’s downtown presence.

A for sale sign should soon be posted outside the five-story Whitney Building on Lee Avenue in downtown Lafayette, which for about 30 years has served as the bank’s regional headquarters, says Lafayette Region President Duayne Richard, who oversees the bank’s operations stretching from as far north as Alexandria down to Morgan City.

Three of the downtown building’s five floors are used by the bank, including a full-service branch located on the ground level.

“The building here is just not conducive for today’s modern day banks,” Richard tells ABiz.

Richard says the move is in line with national trends in the industry, in which many banking institutions are getting out of owning facilities, opting instead to become tenants. That will be the case once Whitney opens the doors of the new Lafayette region headquarters in River Ranch.

camellia_tower_v_2_brochure_large
                                                                                                                         Design by Pecot & Company Architects/Rendering by Chris LeBlanc
Work is expected to commence later this month on the new regional headquarters for Whitney Bank in
River Ranch. The site is across the street from the bank's existing River Ranch operations at Camellia and Settlers Trace boulevards.

 

Dirt is expected to fly later this month in preparation for the 50,000-square-foot Camellia Tower V in River Ranch, half of which will be occupied by Whitney. Owned by River Ranch Development, the $10 million building is being constructed across the street from the bank’s current River Ranch branch — slated for closure with the new office’s completion — on the corner of Camellia and Settlers Trace boulevards.

What remains to be seen, confirms Richard, is whether Whitney will keep its existing downtown branch. Should it stay, it would give prospective buyers a built-in tenant — which could be a big selling point.

“We haven’t made a decision on whether we’ll close the branch or not,” he says. “It’ll be business as usual for the Lee Avenue branch until a decision is made. We may end up keeping it, but right now we just don’t know. There’s a lot of variables at play on whether we’ll keep it or not.”

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