New bank building a welcome addition

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Downtown Rocky Mount continues to rebuild – business by business, customer by customer. The latest addition to the city’s revitalization effort might be considered the biggest yet – a brand new three-story business center for Southern Bank.

Bank officials made the announcement last week, as first reported by Telegram business writer John Henderson. The 18,000 square-foot building is to be constructed at the corner of Sunset Avenue and North Church Street. Southern is wasting no time in getting started – groundbreaking is scheduled for late spring, and officials say construction should be completed in about a year.

The bank’s decision marks a significant commitment by private industry to the revitalization of downtown Rocky Mount. Even as other parts of North Carolina and the country have begun recovering from the recession in more visible ways, unemployment in the Twin Counties area is still high. That makes the bank’s decision to build here all the more welcome.

Best of all, Southern is committing to a new, bigger building for all the right reasons. A regional executive for Southern told Henderson the bank has added 20 employees in Rocky Mount in the past two years. The company needs the extra space to accommodate its growth, and future expansion is possible, as well.

Growth has a way of fostering more growth. More workers downtown will need places to eat lunch, buy gas and go shopping. One new building probably won’t start a land rush on its own, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the effort.

We’re happy to see Southern Bank make such a commitment to downtown. What’s good for the business community is usually good for all of Rocky Mount.