Monday, July 29, 2013

PNC Bank Thinks It Needs a Bigger Bite of Buckhead

PNC Bank plans to open yet another location in Buckhead.

The new PNC Bank branch would open in place of an existing Wendy's.  The parcel sits at the corner of Mathieson Drive and Peachtree Road in the heart of Buckhead.  

The plan was first reported by BuckheadView last week and John offers some great detail and insight into the plans in his post.  

Whereas John covered the story from a neighborhood perspective, I did a little digging /research from the business side.  

A contact of mine with Wendy's corporate confirmed their likely departure from the site, but said as far as he knew, it was likely not gonna happen for 3 years, as he said that was the time remaining on the restaurant's lease. He went on to say they (Wendy's) love the Buckhead market, and it's a well performing location and if and when it does close, it will be due to rent higher than they can pay, given the business they are in, not because the location was not doing well.  He went on to say that they are already seeking a new location in Buckhead and hope to find one in the near future.   

Many Buckhead area residents will recall that prior to The Brookwood being built in south Buckhead, there was a Wendy's.  In that case, Wendy's owned the land and was able to sell it and was lucky enough to be able to relocate across the street.  

In the case of the Buckhead location in question today, they lease the land, and with Buckhead Atlanta finally making progress, rents around the beleaguered project are climbing.  

Interestingly, there was a small fire at the Wendy's in central Buckhead a few years ago after which the restaurant was renovated and updated.  The solarium front of the restaurant was removed and the current signage and updated architectural elements were added outside.   The restaurant had yet to go through brand's "image activation" process, but it was among the more updated Wendy's in the metro area.  

Personally, I've been very impressed with Wendy's' moves to update both their menu and image. This has included new menu items like the recently released Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, a new logo and both modern new locations as well as needed updates to older locations.  

As far as PNC replacing Wendy's goes, I don't really understand the need.  Having already watched as BankSouth, National Bank of Commerce, First Union, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Flagstar, Tucker Federal, RBC Centura and countless others have been merged or failed, I think replacing an existing business with a bank is silly.  PNC Bank already has three branches in the Buckhead area, two about a mile in either direction from the proposed new one.  

Pittsburgh-based PNC, which last year purchased Atlanta operations of Michigan-based Flagstar Bank and all of Raleigh-based RBC Bank USA, went from zero representation in Atlanta to what some say is now the 7th largest-bank in metro Atlanta, ranked by deposits.   

PNC currently has a two story branch (former RBC) less than a half mile away on Pharr Road near the Atlanta Fish Market.  PNC also has a location at Habersham and Piedmont Roads (former Flagstar), just over a mile away.  PNC also has a location at Lindbergh City Center (former Flagstar), about 2 miles away.

Chicago-based Chase Bank has also gone a little crazy in opening two new Buckhead locations already, with a third in the works.  Chase opened in "The Peach" shopping center on Peachtree, taking a portion of endcap space previously home to Linens 'n Things.  Chase also opened in place of State Bank at Chastain Square on Roswell Road in North Buckhead.  Another Chase branch is slated to open in place of the shuttered Pizza Hut, on Piedmont Road near the Lindbergh MARTA station. 

Another Chase branch and a Chick-fil-A were proposed replacements for the vacant Hastings site on Peachtree in Brookhaven, but last I heard, that project was stalled amidst community disapproval.   

What are your thoughts on this planned Wendy's?  Do you think another PNC is needed or would you like to have some fast food options in Buckhead other than McDonald's? Who do you bank with in Atlanta, and why?  Please share your thoughts below.  


Carl Black said...

RBC took over the first bank I ever loved (Security First Network Bank), which launched at Lenox Towers (in a space previously occupied by another bank and no longer used by a bank, although the drive-thru window and probably the vault remain) and then moved to Prominence in Buckhead. I guess there's no longer a bank at that location either. There was also the Georgian Bank (that failed and was replaced by BrandBank) in the Realm building. There are probably several others we're forgetting. Although PNC has replaced several of my former institutions (including TuckFed), I have the impression that they're a more modern operation than many of the competitors, so perhaps they do have room to grow in this market. As far as one standalone building replacing another: no thank you.

Drake said...

I live on the Lenox superblock and hate to see that Wendy's close -- especially to some bank. Where will I go for a late night frosty?!

Anonymous said...

This is dumb. I understand that Buckhead isnt exactly the place to be for quick, cheap eats, but its nice to have somewhere in the area that I don't have to sacrifice my first born for some food. PNC is trying to expand too quickly in this market, and it seems they are hitting Buckhead quite heavily. I don't think this institution will last too long in this market.

Anonymous said...

PNC Bank will also open a new branch in the 12th and Midtown development on Peachtree Street in Midtown. It will be located between Cafe Intermezzo and ROC, just below Exhale.

Lee at said...

PNC is also building new branches out here in the burbs. I don't understand it. I keep reading articles predicting the demise of retail banking. Figured before long Eli would be writing articles on what became of old bank buildings.

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