KBTX - Money - Headlines

Bank Moves Into Its New, Recognizable, Tall Home

The significance of a new building's opening in any community varies from building to building. In the case of Momentum Plaza in College Station, it opened with little fanfare (by design) even after a long process to get it finished.

Most people know it as businessman Don Adam's building on the east side of Highway 6 in College Station, ten stories that tower over the landscape, but stood unfinished for nearly seven years. Now complete, Adam's American Momentum Bank and Adam Corporation moved in to their new digs a little more than a week ago.

The bank was open for business at its new site December 6. There was no ribbon cutting or major campaign to announce it, just word of mouth between bankers and customers to let the latter know the institution was in its new home.

"Most of our customers, we obtained through our reputations in the community, and we didn't feel like a lot of splashy advertising to announce the opening was necessary," said Frank Varisco, market president for Bryan/College Station.

Some 22 months earlier, American Momentum was born in the Twin Cities, but in a trailer adjacent to the Plaza site while construction continued. Adam, who in 2005 had sold his First American Bank to Citigroup for a reported three-quarters of a billion dollars, launched Momentum in Florida a few years later, then brought his brand of banking back to area.

"Great communities are built in conjunction and on top of great financial institutions," Adam said in February 2009 at the announcement of Momentum's arrival in B/CS.

The intent was always for Momentum Bank's Texas headquarters to go in Momentum Plaza, but momentum in construction was not there for a time. The building started going up in early 2004, but Adam's concerns with a contractor's work led to him to sue and change companies. The project's length fueled the local rumor mill, spawning theories ranging from the owner's funds running low to the ground underneath the building sinking.

Members of Adam's team choose to look on the bright side of the delays.

"The way that it's turned out and the beauty of it, I think it was worth the wait," Varisco said. "It takes time for beautiful things to be created."

And few would disagree with the thought that what's been created is beautiful.

"It kind of reminded me of a bank lobby dating back to, maybe, the 60s with all the decor, with all the metal and the marble," Varisco described it. "You don't see that in a lot of bank lobbies these days."

The bottom levels of the building are for the bank, with Adam Corporation residing at the top, certainly a place with a unique view of the area. The middle floors? The corporation has current and future interests, and the bank is looking to expand significantly.

"We have plans to not only grow here locally, but also throughout the State of Texas, and we hope those plans should continue to evolve over the next three-to-five years," Varisco said.

That could mean hundreds of jobs here and elsewhere, all in a currently struggling economy, but Adam officials say the strength found in Texas and the Twin Cities means success can be found here in a time filled with fears built on bank failures of the past few years.

"All of the bankers who are working here have worked in this community for years, and we just feel like this is a perfect place to start our statewide bank," Varisco added.

American Momentum touts itself as the most highly capitalized bank in Texas, along with being in the top ten in the country. Its total assets sit at a reported $650 million.


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