United Federal to build operations center in Niles

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

Above is an artist’s rendering of United Federal Credit Union’s new operations center that will be located at 2100 S. 11th St., in Niles. Submitted image

Above is an artist’s rendering of United Federal Credit Union’s new operations center that will be located at 2100 S. 11th St., in Niles. Submitted image

United Federal Credit Union plans to build a 20,000 square foot operations center in Niles as part of a multi-phase construction project aimed at supporting growth over the next five years.

The new structure will be built at 2100 S. 11th St. Construction is scheduled to begin in December and finish in December 2014.

“I am excited for the (Niles) area,” said Joe Sobieralski, executive director of the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. “I thought it was a great decision on their (UFCU) part and it shows that we are a great location for business. It is positive any time there is new commercial or industrial construction.”

UFCU President/CEO Gary Easterling said there is some planned employee expansion along with the construction project.

“This is an exciting time for United as we prepare for additional growth,” said Easterling. “While our corporate headquarters will remain in St. Joseph, our new operations center and the follow-on building projects that we are planning throughout Berrien County will help us expand our capabilities. Having several sizable work locations throughout the county will also help us attract talented employees that live throughout the Michiana area.”

UFCU settled on the Niles location for its operations center, and its multi-phase approach to further expansion, after receiving and reviewing proposals for an expanded corporate headquarters facility that were submitted by more than 40 municipalities, developers and property owners. Easterling says that after reviewing the proposals, it became apparent that, having several modular campuses — rather than a single, large headquarters building — was the best approach.

“It will allow the Credit Union to remain flexible and to better adapt to changing market conditions as needed,” said Easterling.

“Our roots really live in the southern part of Berrien County and the northern part of the county too. The fact that we already have the physical presence in Niles — it made sense to expand that footprint.”

As the multi-phase building plan progresses, it will create employee campuses at the site for the new operations center, as well as on State Street in St. Joseph. The Redmond Company of Waukesha, Wis., has been selected to manage the construction projects.

“In addition to our new operations center, we’ll continue to invest in southwest Michigan, even as we grow throughout the communities we serve across the U.S.,” said Easterling. “For example, United just opened a new, state-of-the-art employee training center here in St. Joseph. We repurposed an unused, former branch location and invested $750,000 to create the newly renovated educational facility, which held its first training class on Sept. 9.”

Easterling also noted that UFCU’s existing corporate headquarters and branch facility, located at 2807 S. State St. in St. Joseph, will benefit from re-building and renovation investments of more than $3 million planned for 2014.

The existing branch will be replaced by a new building on the same property and the corporate headquarters will be expanded and improved to house UFCU’s growing workforce.

In addition to its nine branches in southwest Michigan, UFCU serves members through locations in Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.