First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union has begun construction on a new $20 million headquarters in Lower Macungie Township that is part of the credit union’s growth strategy in the Lehigh Valley.
First Commonwealth, currently based in Hanover Township, Northampton County, broke ground Wednesday on an 81,000-square-foot, thee-story, mixed-use building and an adjacent 5,000-square-foot financial center along Route 222 near the new Trexlertown Movie Tavern theater.
“We looked at our projected growth and we knew we needed to substantially grow our back office operations,” said John Miller, COO of First Commonwealth, the executive overseeing the project.
The development will consolidate employees from offices in Hanover Township, Northampton County and on Union Boulevard in Allentown. About 120 employees will work on the top two stories of the building.
Miller said the first floor will be leased out to retail and office users. The credit union already has one office leased and that will bring another 50 or 60 employees to the building.
There also is room for First Commonwealth to grow, Miller said, as the site was designed to accommodate up to 275 employees.
About eight employees will be hired for the accompanying branch.
Miller said First Commonwealth is expecting to hire more employees as it expands both its bricks-and-mortar locations and its digital presence.
“We have a completely new digital platform that we will be rolling out later this year,” he said.
Miller said one of the reasons the Lower Macungie site was chosen was to help attract those new employees.
There are shops and restaurants nearby as well as a walking trail for employees to enjoy over their lunch breaks. Miller hopes those feature will also attract the best new hires.
“What we really want to do here is attract the workforce of the future,” he said.
First Commonwealth, which has been operating in the Lehigh Valley since 1959, opened four branches in 2017. It’s most recent new location, in Emmaus, had a soft opening on Monday.
When the Trexlertown branch opens in spring 2020 it will be First Commonwealth’s 10th location.
Site work is being managed by Boyle Construction of South Whitehall Township. It was designed by MKSD Architects of South Whitehall Township.
Additional project partners include HB Engineers, Newton Engineering and Jaindl Land Development Co. Construction.
First Commonwealth has 170 employees and $700 million in assets.