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July 12, 2018

Investors want to buy BB&T’s Main St. building

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
North Carolina-based BB&T will close its Main Street branch July 27. A bank has operated at this location for 108 years.
It’s got a lot of flexibility of what could go in there. I think it could be a bank, a restaurant; it could be numerous things.
— Realtor Bill Chipman
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Staff Journalist
A Northern Virginia investment company wants to buy BB&T’s Warrenton building on Main Street.

“I’m working on a contract now,” commercial Realtor Bill Chipman, who represents the North Carolina-based bank, said Wednesday. “I knew it was a matter of time. It’s such a unique building.”

Mr. Chipman declined to identify the prospective buyer or discuss how much it has offered for the property at 21 Main St.

BB&T seeks $3.5 million for the 30,000-sqaure-foot building and 1.25-acre site at First and Main streets. For tax purposes, county government values the property at $4.3 million.

The property has plenty of appeal because of its size, Main Street location, onsite parking (about 40 spaces) and nearby public parking, said the Warrenton Realtor, who estimated the town’s office vacancy rate at 13 percent.

“It’s got a lot of flexibility of what could go in there,” explained Mr. Chipman, who listed the property last week. “It’s got the lobby, a wide open area. . . . I think it could be a bank, a restaurant; it could be numerous things.”

Office building properties with off-street parking also enjoy a “huge advantage” over those that lack it, he said.

BB&T earlier this year announced it would shut the branch Friday, July 27.

The Salem, N.C.-based bank has maintained the Main Street branch for 16 years.

A bank has operated at that location for 108 years, since the founding of the former Peoples National Bank of Warrenton.

While the company offered no specific reasons for the closure, corporate Communications Vice President David R. White explained at the time that BB&T undertakes “a very rigorous” review process before making such a decision.

That process considers a branch’s “viability,” building condition and customer “patterns,” Mr. White said.

He received the investment company’s offer on Monday, Mr. Chipman said.

A contract should be completed and delivered to the company next week, he said.

If the sale goes through, Mr. Chipman believes it will close by year’s end.

The prospective buyer already owns property in Fauquier, he said.

BB&T will continue to operate its office at 236 W. Lee Highway. It opened that modern branch in 2004.

Besides the two Warrenton offices, BB&T has branches in Marshall and Bealeton.

About three years ago, BB&T limited the Remington branch to drive-through services. As planned, the bank shut that branch May 18. 

BB&T closed its Catlett branch about two years ago.

The Peoples National Bank of Warrenton opened on Main Street in 1910. The bank replaced that structure in 1929 and expanded it 26 years later. A 1987 addition roughly doubled the building’s size.

In 1994, Peoples merged with Winchester-based F&M Bank. Eight years later BB&T acquired F&M.

The bank last year closed 140 branches and expects to shut that many in 2018.

The company operates 2,000 branches in 15 states and Washington, D.C. It has about 350 branches in Virginia.

BB&T last summer still had about a 20-percent banking market share in Fauquier. At that time, it had slightly more than $348 million in deposits here, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s annual market share report.

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