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CertusBank buys investment brokerage


By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Sept. 26, 2011

CertusBank announced during the groundbreaking of it headquarters Friday that it acquired Sage Southeastern Securities of Atlanta and plans to expand its presence in downtown Greenville.

This adds investment brokerage capabilities to its wealth management platform. CertusBank will open additional Upstate branches in the next four months.

CertusBank will expand into phase two of Project One, a mixed-use development at Main and Washington streets in downtown Greenville, with an additional 100,000 square feet of office space. This is in addition to its space in the first phase of the development. Hughes Development Corp. President Bob Hughes said announcements will come soon for tenants in the remaining 100,000-square-feet of phase two.

The 11-story phase two has no other confirmed tenants, although Hughes has said more offices, retailers or a hotel are possibilities. Phase one and two will start construction simultaneously.

Project One broke ground on the 185,000-square-foot, nine-story development that will house the CertusBank headquarters, Anthropologie retailer and Haynsworth, Sinkler, Boyd, P.A. law firm at the site of the demolished Woolworth building at Main and Washington streets in downtown Greenville.

“The construction industry has been decimated, so for us to say we’re excited about this job in Greenville is an understatement,” said Keith Johnson, Brasfield & Gorrie vice president and the general contractor.

Construction will begin Monday and around 350 construction workers will be employed throughout the process, Johnson said. Several local subcontractors are also involved in the job.

The $100 million project by Hughes Development is set to open in the fourth quarter of 2012, with the retailer opening in 2013.

CertusBank plans to employ 350 people in downtown Greenville. It is a subsidiary of the Charlotte, N.C. investment group Blue Ridge Holdings Inc. CertusBank is a $1.8 billion financial institution with 32 branches in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

The company acquired the failed CommunitySouth Bank and Trust of Easley in January in a transaction assisted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Bank executives have said CertusBank aims to become a $5 billion institution in two years. The bank acquired two failed banks in Georgia in May.

Anne Ellefson, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd managing director, said 100 people will move from their current law office on Beattie Place into the new development.

The development’s retail component, Anthropologie, offers women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and home décor. Anthropologie first opened its doors in 1992 in Wayne, Pa. There are now more than 100 stores nationwide.

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