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CVS buys Bank of America branch as bank plans for further reductions

Updated: January 31, 2014 - 2:38 pm

Posted: January 31, 2014

By Lydia Wheeler

CVS is knocking down the former Bank of America branch near Old Dominion University in Norfolk and building a new pharmacy in its place.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company has submitted applications to Norfolk's planning department for special exceptions to operate a 24-hour pharmacy with a drive-through and sell alcohol for off-premise consumption on the property at 3717 Hampton Blvd.

Building plans call for the ground floor to be 12,223 square feet and a mezzanine level to be 1,682 square feet. CVS has hired The Rebkee Co., a Richmond-based commercial real estate company, to be the store's developer.

A public hearing will be held at the next planning commission meeting on Feb. 27.

CVS purchased the property for $2.1 million in December, according to city records. The building, built in 1970, and the 1.14 acres it sits on, was last assessed in July for $1.2 million.

Bank of America closed the 5,882-square-foot branch to customers in September in a nationwide corporate downsize. The company said increased use of mobile and online banking were driving the closures with fewer transactions taking place at physical branches.

The banking center on the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story at 1225 Amphibious Drive in Virginia Beach closed Jan. 1.

Though no other local branches are expected to close, Bank of America said it's laying off 103 people in branches throughout Richmond and 15 people in Norfolk.

Jumana Bauwens, a Bank of American spokeswoman, said the reductions are in the mortgage and refinancing departments.

"The number of delinquent mortgage loans we service has decreased to less than one-third of the peak levels," she said. "As we continue to resolve the needs of customers with delinquent loans, we are reducing the size of the operations that support these specialized programs. Additionally, in line with the industry, we are realigning our cost structure in response to lower customer demand for mortgage refinancing. Here in Richmond, we are redeploying approximately 540 employees to new roles in the credit and consumer deposits area of the bank."

Bauwens said Bank of America is looking for opportunities internally and externally for employees affected, but she could not say how many employees, if any, will be offered positions in other bank branches.