Ceremony marks opening of new bank building, neighboring workforce and development center
A two-for-one ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday morning for the opening of the new Regions bank building in downtown Tuscaloosa and the neighboring West Alabama Workforce and Community Development Center.
The new Regions building, at 800 22nd Ave., replaces the longtime downtown facility on Ninth Street. Its former building was sold to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama at a price below market value to create the workforce and community development center.
“This ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrates how community partnerships can achieve great results,” said Jim Page, president and CEO of the Chamber.
“Regions saw the value in our goal of creating a center for workforce development, job creation, and opportunities for collaboration among like-minded organizations, and helped make this game-changing facility possible.”
The new Regions building offers video banking automated teller services in addition to face-to-face service from local teams. The video banking ATMs uses real-time video to connect customers with Regions bankers during an expanded set of hours, which include evenings, weekends and holidays.
The interior of the new branch building is fashioned with a bright and sleek-modern design. Customers are also greeted on arrival by bankers who can assist with virtually all branch-banking needs without having to be referred to other bankers for certain specialized services.
Elizabeth Winter, Tuscaloosa market executive for Regions Bank, said the ribbon-cutting ceremony represented "significant new investments" in the local economy that will impact the community and businesses in the area for years to come.
“We know the improved functionality and look of our new, state-of-the-art branch will provide a pleasant and efficient banking experience for our customers. And we are honored that the Chamber is repurposing our former home around the corner to support more business expansion and job opportunities throughout the area," Winter said.
The Tuesday ceremony also signified the completion of phase one of the workforce center's renovation project. This phase means that businesses and organizations such as Camgian, Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa, Junior Achievement of Tuscaloosa County and more have joined the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama in operating out of the facility. Additional organizations are expected to locate there soon.
Page said the idea of the workforce center stems from a trip that the chamber took to Lexington, Kentucky, in 2018, where they visited their chamber of commerce counterpart, Lexington Commerce. It had a similar concept, Page said, in which multiple entities under one roof.
The idea of bringing that concept to downtown Tuscaloosa was pitched by the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce to Regions and it was immediately adopted, Page said. However, the project had roughly a dozen "near-collapses," brought on by various factors, most notably the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Page continued.
"Regions Bank from the local office to the corporate office in Birmingham, never wavered in their commitment to making this deal happen, so we would not be standing here today without Regions Bank," Page said. "Thank you for Regions. We appreciate you."
Emily Enfinger is a reporter for The Tuscaloosa News. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyEnfinger.
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