Synovus to sell downtown Columbus GA offices to municipal government

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Synovus will sell five of its downtown offices to the city of Columbus for almost $ 25 million, if the council approves it.

The proposal will be considered by the Columbus Council at its Sept. 28 meeting, according to a statement released Friday by Synovus spokesman Lee Underwood.

Underwood and Mayor Skip Henderson both declined to quote the purchase price when asked by the Ledger-Enquirer on Friday afternoon, and said it would be discussed at the next council presentation. Documents provided to LE Friday night revealed the cost.

“We will release the details once the board has had a chance to vote,” said Henderson. “We are obviously convinced that they will support him. But until that happens, we won’t give any details. “

Conversations around the sale began in March 2021 when city officials approached the Columbus-based banking and financial services company, according to a information sheet on the sales contract.

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, the city would purchase the Uptown center, main office, Jordan and Bradley buildings, and parking lot – approximately 250,000 square feet of office space. All facilities are in the block bordered by 12th Street, First Avenue and Broadway in downtown.

The announcement comes just over a month before voters in Muscogee County go to the polls for a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST, a measure that would determine the future of court and government buildings in the city.

Consultants hired by the City recommended that the City construct a new 310,000 square foot courthouse and additional parking structure on the current site of the Government Center. A majority of the city administration would be moved to a new building on a separate site or to an available space in another building in the city.

Henderson told LE Friday that the Synovus properties will house most of the city’s administrative jobs.

If the transaction is approved, by the first half of 2024, Synovus will consolidate its nine Uptown locations into two possible locations and a downtown branch that will include drive-thru. A new Synovus office in the city center is expected to be completed in May 2024, according to a information sheet on the sales contract.

“Columbus is a special place, and this partnership demonstrates Synovus’ long-standing commitment to serving the needs of the city and community of Uptown where we were founded over 130 years ago,” said Kevin Blair, president and chief executive officer of Synovus, in the Liberation. “This agreement with the city for the purchase of our Uptown Center complex is mutually beneficial for both organizations and will result in greater efficiency and workspace synergy between members of our Columbus-based team and a space improved working conditions for city administrative staff. “

Synovus employees in most of the Uptown buildings included in the sale will be temporarily relocated to the Synovus Center and Riverfront Building in the second half of 2022, the statement said.

About half of Synovus’ approximately 970 full-time local employees will ultimately work at two Uptown facilities. The rest of the team occupy remote or hybrid positions.

Synovus currently employs approximately 5,200 team members in five states.

“We approached Synovus several months ago regarding the possibility of this transaction, which will help us find a cost effective solution for the needs of the city’s administrative offices in Uptown Columbus,” Henderson said in the announcement. “This is a win-win transaction for Columbus and Synovus, and another demonstration of the long history of collaboration between this city’s businesses and local government to meet the needs of our community.

This is not the first time in recent years that the city has considered buying office space in the city center. The city briefly considered purchasing the Carmike building when it went on the market in 2017.

This story was originally published September 24, 2021 3:37 pm.

Ledger-Enquirer reporter Joshua Mixon covers business and local development. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and owner of the coolest dog, Finn. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.

Nick Wooten is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for the Southern McClatchy region. He is based in Columbus, Ga at the Ledger-Enquirer, but his work also appears in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Sun Herald in Biloxi. Prior to joining McClatchy, he worked for The (Shreveport La.) Times covering city government and investigations. He graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.


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