Blue Cross Gives $10
Million to Free Clinics
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation plans to improve access
to healthcare for uninsured and underinsured citizens by donating up to $10
million to free healthcare clinics across the state. The foundation is making
the grant to the N.C. Association of Free Clinics (NCAFC) as part of a
partnership between the organizations to strengthen the free health clinic
network across the state. The grant, to be distributed over five years, is the
largest ever to be made by the BCBSNC Foundation and the largest to be received
by the NCAFC.
In addition to expanding services at existing clinics, the grant’s goal is to
expand the number of free clinics and pharmacies across the state to 85, up from
the current 57, and to provide statewide access. The grant is also expected to
allow free clinics to more than double the number of people served annually.
“Providing healthcare for the uninsured is crucial to the well-being of North
Carolina, and it is central to the mission of the BCBSNC Foundation,” says Bob
Greczyn, president and chair of the BCBSNC Foundation.
The NCAFC projects that by 2009 more than 300,000 uninsured patients annually
will receive $150 million worth of health services from free clinics and
pharmacies, including 750,000 prescriptions. In 2002, North Carolina’s free
clinics and pharmacies provided $60 million of care to more than 125,000
uninsured patients, dispensing more than 350,000 prescriptions.
Every free clinic will be eligible for a base grant from the BCBSNC Foundation
as well as additional aid for service expansion, technology and programs for
people with chronic medical conditions. The foundation grant will also be used
for start-up aid to establish new clinics, an annual flu shot program, and
planning grants and matching grants.
First Citizens Makes Major
Real Estate Buy
First Citizens Bank has contracted to purchase the BTI Corporate Center, a
4.9-acre complex in Raleigh’s North Hills area, from Highwoods Properties. The
BTI Center, which is adjacent to more than eight acres First Citizens already
owns, includes a nine-story, 163,000 square-foot building and a multi-level
parking deck. First Citizens Bank will continue to lease space to tenants
already in the BTI complex, and Highwoods Properties will continue to lease and
manage the property.
Lewis R. Holding, chair of First Citizens, says, “Our company has grown
tremendously in recent years. The purchase of this office complex will help
First Citizens efficiently consolidate its corporate staff in one of the premier
business locations in Raleigh.”
The bank owns property adjacent to the BTI complex and in 2000 announced plans
for a corporate office complex in the block. The first phase of the complex was
completed the following year with the construction of a 24,000-square-foot
branch and Wake area offices. Construction of an 87,000-square-foot,
crescent-shaped building also is planned for the site, but no construction
timetable has been announced. — Noel McLaughlin
Plans for New Business
Park Bolster Economic Recovery
A town in need of some good economic news got it when plans were announced
for a new $100 million business park in Kannapolis. Charlotte-based Childress
Klein Properties paid $11 million for a 275-acre tract at Interstate 85’s Exit
54, commonly known as Kannapolis Parkway. Construction is expected to begin this
spring and the first buildings will be available in 2005.
Plans call for 2.5 million square feet of flexible office and distribution
space, plus future commercial and retail development. Kannapolis has budgeted
$200,000 to extend water and sewer lines to the site. U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes has
secured $500,000 in federal money to construct a bridge over nearby Coddle Creek
that is necessary for the project.
Golf, Tourism Leaders Hail
Pat Corso on His Retirement
Pat Corso took Pinehurst Resort from financial ruin to one of the world’s
premier golf destinations during a remarkable 17-year tenure that officially
ended Feb. 6, three weeks after announcing he would resign to pursue other
interests. “I have had the honor and privilege of leading Pinehurst for the
past 17 years,” Corso said in a statement. “We raised our family here and
have deep roots in the community. This is an opportunity for me to pursue a new
career direction and for Pinehurst to move to the next chapter in its
A replacement is expected to be named before the end of March, according to Rich
Beckert, executive vice president of ClubResorts, a division of Dallas-based
ClubCorp, which owns Pinehurst. “ClubCorp and Pinehurst have had the great
benefit of Pat’s leadership,” Beckert said in a statement. “We are
grateful for the impact he’s had on Pinehurst, its restoration as an
award-winning destination and its leadership role in the game of golf.”
Corso was working for a resort owned by ClubCorp in Michigan when he came to
Pinehurst in 1986 to manage the Holly Inn. He was named president of Pinehurst
the following year — just three years after ClubCorp had bought the fledging
resort from a consortium of banks. The then-Pinehurst Hotel (now the Carolina)
was in a state of disrepair — a chef had fallen through the floor and the roof
had multiple leaks — and the golf courses, including the famed Pinehurst No.
2, were in dismal shape.
Corso, with the financial backing of ClubCorp and its founder, Robert Dedman
Sr., worked to restore the resort to its former glory. By the time the U.S. Open
was staged in June 1999, ClubCorp had spent more than $134 million refurbishing
Pinehurst and establishing a reputation as “the cradle of American golf.”
That U.S. Open, won by the late Payne Stewart, was hailed as one of the most
successful championships in USGA history, so much so that the U.S. Open will
return in 2005, its quickest return to any course in history.
In 2000, Corso was named president of The Pinehurst Co., established to oversee
ClubCorp’s five resorts — and with an eye on expansion. But a weakened
economy, coupled with the effects of 9/11, crippled the tourism and resort
industry and led to ClubCorp to disband the company.
“What he has done to that property with its restoration, for the game of golf
and for this community is remarkable,” says Kelly Miller, president and CEO of
Pine Needles and Mid Pines resorts in Southern Pines. “I consider him to be
the architect of the renaissance of Pinehurst. He has done so much to promote
this area and tourism in North Carolina in general. He will be incredibly hard
to replace.” — Kevin Brafford
BofA Scores Marketing Coup
in Deal with Panthers
A natural extension of a long-standing relationship between Bank of America and
the Carolina Panthers spurred the financial giant’s estimated $140 million
decision to turn Ericcson Stadium into Bank of America Stadium. The 20-year
rights agreement to rename the Panthers’ home field was announced just two
days before the team upset the Philadelphia Eagles to reach the Super Bowl. It
was a marketing coup, for sure, but just coincidental in its timing.
Former Bank of America CEO Hugh
McColl Jr. worked closely with team owner Jerry Richardson to finance the
construction of the 73,258-seat stadium, which opened in 1996 at a cost of $187
million. “I can tell you that without Bank of America there would be no
Carolina Panthers,” Richardson, a former NFL player, says.
The Charlotte-based bank already was the official financial services company of
the Panthers and other pro teams, but never had put its name on one of their
facilities. The existing sponsorship, which continues, gives BofA exclusive
rights to ATMs in the stadium in addition to radio commercial spots and an
assortment of other team tie-ins.
The Panthers had been looking for a new sponsor since 2002 when cash-strapped
Swedish telecommunications company L.M. Ericsson Inc. admitted what had been
rumored all along — that it would not renew its nine-year, $20 million deal
after the 2004 season.
Ericsson further agreed to end the deal early if a replacement was found.
“This is a special day for Bank of America and all of our associates to
reinforce our relationship with the Carolina Panthers and our commitment to this
city of winners,” says CEO Ken Lewis.
The marketing deal is the latest in BofA’s efforts to build its business
through sports sponsorships. It’s a significant backer of the Olympics and the
namesake of the PGA Tour’s Bank of America Colonial golf tournament.
The bank also sponsors 15 pro sports teams and owns the building-naming rights
to the University of Washington’s basketball arena. In 2003, BofA officials
say the bank spent a total of $985 million on all marketing, up from $753
million in 2002. — Kevin Brafford
Plans Approved for New
Convention Center, Hotel
Momentum is gaining on three major projects planned for downtown Raleigh
designed to revitalize the area for residents and increase the city’s
marketability as a meetings destination. The Raleigh City Council and the Wake
County Board of Commissioners have agreed to a funding plan to pay for a $180
million convention center and a $20 million public subsidy for a $58 million,
400-room hotel to be constructed by Stormont-Noble Development of Atlanta.
“Befitting our status as major league destination with the NHL Carolina
Hurricanes and other area professional teams, Raleigh will soon be a major
player for state, regional and national meetings business,” says Dave Heinl,
president & CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“For decades, larger and more lucrative conventions were forced to bypass
Raleigh because of the inadequate size and configuration of the existing Raleigh
Convention Center and the lack of a convention headquarters quality hotel. Soon,
that will no longer be the case.”
Most immediate is the 2005 scheduled reopening of Fayetteville Street to
vehicular traffic. The city’s traditional main street has been a pedestrian
mall for the past 27 years. The project is estimated to cost $8.9 million. The
source of the money remains uncertain, although Mayor Charles Meeker says he
expects the cost will be absorbed as a road project in the city’s annual
Fayetteville Street’s new look will include 98 parallel parking spaces and a
40-foot-wide roadway down the middle, including the parking lanes. “Garden”
and sidewalk zones will fill roughly 30 feet on each side. The street will have
two lanes and two-way traffic.
In addition, the street will have granite-topped benches with room for planters
or art on each end; oak and crape myrtle trees; bluestone paving in the zone
where cafe tables are intended; and a still-to-be-determined signature object at
the corners of each intersection.
The convention center complex will be paid for by using $85 of every $100
uncommitted revenue collected over the next 30 years from taxes on hotel rooms
and prepared food and beverage. Construction on the 510,000-square-foot complex,
which will include 212,000 feet of rentable space, is expected to begin next
January with completion in mid-2007.
The hotel also is targeted for a mid-2007 opening. Plans show it to be a
four-star Marriott Hotel with a 9,000-square-foot grand ballroom, 5,950 square
feet of breakout meeting space and 400 square feet of retail space. — Kevin
Bank Opens Branches Inside
First Bank is finding success in a business strategy that satisfies the
banking needs of its customers along with their appetites. The Troy-based bank,
which boasts of 61 branches and more than $1.4 billion assets, has teamed up
with convenience-store chain Quik Chek in three towns to provide dual services
in one stop.
The latest full-service First Bank branch to open is in a FuelMate Express —
which is owned by Quik Chek — on U.S. 1 at the southern tip of Sanford.
Earlier locations were opened in Randolph County, one in Asheboro and the other
in neighboring Seagrove.
At each site, First Bank has taken over a portion of the convenience store
before eventually constructing its own branch at a separate location. “This is
not something that will ever dominate our growth pattern,” First Bank CEO
Jimmie Garner told the Sandhills Business
Times. “We do it according to our needs. If we’re in an area already and
need to expand, we find this works better than building a full office
First Bank has grown rapidly since 1997, increasing its assets more than
three-fold from $400 million to $1.4 billion. Last year, it added eight branches
and began operations in South Carolina for the first time after acquiring
Carolina Community Bank in Dillon County. That followed by a year First Bank’s
first foray into Virginia, where it had opened a branch in Wytheville.
Garner says First Bank’s philosophy of “one-on-one banking” serves its
customers well. — Kevin Brafford
EPA Praises Food Lion for
Food Lion’s commitment to controlling its energy use is paying off, as 101
of its stores have earned Energy Star recognition from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). The designation means that these Food Lion stores are
some of the most energy efficient retail facilities in the country. “Food Lion
embraces a superior energy management strategy that is a model for all
businesses to follow,” says Kathleen Hogan, director of the EPA’s Climate
Protection Partnerships Division, which oversees the Energy Star program.
Food Lion became an Energy Star partner in 1998. Over the past three years,
through new lighting, refrigeration and heating and cooling technologies and
company-wide energy management efforts, Food Lion has reduced its energy use by
more than 1.2 trillion Btu. In 2003, Food Lion saved 550 billion Btu, and cut
its natural gas consumption by nearly nine percent.
In 2002 and 2003, the EPA recognized Food Lion as “Energy Star Partner of the
Year” — the only supermarket company to receive the honor. “We think
it’s quite an accomplishment,” says Kyle Mitchell, Food Lion vice president
of construction and engineering.
The environmental impact of Food Lion’s efforts is significant. Based on EPA
calculations, each of the Salisbury-based company’s stores saves as much as
86,000 kilowatts per year — enough to power nine American homes for an entire
year. The energy savings at each store also prevent 190,920 pounds of CO2
emissions per year, equal to removing the pollution of 19 cars or planting
nearly 26 acres of trees. —Jeff Lowrance
Retiring Mac Everett
Pledges Continued Civic Leadership
Mac Everett expects to frequent the golf course more regularly following his
retirement after a distinguished career of more than 25 years with First Union
and Wachovia, but in the foreseeable future he won’t always be bringing his
clubs with him. Everett, 57, worked his last day as Wachovia’s head of
corporate and community affairs on Feb. 15, but has agreed to serve for the
second consecutive year as tournament director of the Wachovia Championship, a
PGA Tour event that drew rave reviews in its inaugural tournament last May at
Quail Hollow Club.
“I have been fortunate to have had so many wonderful experiences throughout my
career,” says Everett. “I am looking forward to spending more time with my
family and friends, working hard on my golf game and continuing to serve the
Charlotte community I love so dearly.”
Shannon McFayden, 43, who has led Wachovia’s community initiatives program
since 2001, replaced Everett and becomes the second woman on the bank’s
13-member operating committee.
Everett, who was NCCBI’s chair in 2000-01, began his career in the trust
department of First Union in 1978. He’s credited with helping create the
bank’s mutual fund family and headed its N.C. operations before assuming
leadership of Wachovia’s corporate and community affairs following the
“Mac Everett is one of the great leaders of our company, and Wachovia will
benefit in years to come from his contributions,” says Wachovia CEO Ken
Thompson. — Kevin Brafford