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Community First Credit Union Completes, Opens Additional HQ Building in LaVilla

By: Maria Coppola, APR, CPRC

Posted on 9/15/2020 9:00:00 AM

The Credit Union was founded and has been headquartered in Downtown since 1935

Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 14, 2020 Community First Credit Union, Downtown Jacksonville’s longest continuously operating financial institution, has completed and opened its new headquarters expansion building in LaVilla. Community First purchased the former Elkins Building/Diamond-S building at 701 W. Adams St. in November 2019 and soon after started a full renovation to the exterior and interior. Approximately 75 of its 180 total headquarters staff will be moving into the building.

Buying and renovating this building has allowed the credit union to continue to invest in Downtown and LaVilla while providing an immediate solution to its current at-capacity headquarters space. Repurposing this existing, nearly vacant building makes economic sense for the member-owned credit union. The cost of property and a newly constructed building was more than double the cost of repurposing an existing building.

“This repurposed building gives us the room we need to grow for the next several years,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First. “We are proud to continue to contribute to a vibrant Downtown.” 

Community First acquired the 1.7-acre lot and the 32,300-square-foot, two-story building and its adjacent parking lot. The building at Adams and Jefferson is about six blocks from the existing headquarters at Lee and Beaver Streets. The building is now home to operational and administrative offices including loan departments, marketing, accounting and finance as well as training and other supporting departments for the organizations branch network. It does not have member-facing branches or services.

“Community First has been a leader in Downtown revitalization,” said Buck Smoak of Auld & White. “This repurposing makes economic sense but also helps our Downtown in many ways including pedestrian traffic and more corporate employees near the core.”

In 2002, Community First had a total of 188 employees which has grown to 340, an 80% growth. Since 2002 its assets have grown 297% from $605 million to $1.9 billion in August 2020. The growth along with efficiency gains have provided higher quality, higher wage jobs and returned more value to the credit union’s membership.

Renovations included full interiors and exterior improvements and updates along with advanced technology and new finishes as well as furnishings. Auld & White Constructors of Jacksonville completed the renovation. TTV Architects designed the building’s new interior and exterior and NAI Hallmark was the broker for the sale.

Community First has been headquartered in Downtown Jacksonville since 1935. In 2002, it converted its Main Street Branch to a banking services branch and moved its headquarters to its current location at 637 N. Lee St. near the LaVilla School of the Arts. 

Community First Credit Union of Florida is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the 10 largest credit unions in the state, serving more than 145,000 members and with assets of $1.9 billion. Community First has 19 locations and 340 employees. A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages and investments for consumers and businesses throughout the First Coast.