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HOUSTON-First American Bank, a Bryan/College Station-based full service bank, is marking their entry into the Houston marketplace with the first of nine intended locations. Early this week, First American opened its first office, a 3,000 sf bank lobby in Tishman Speyer Properties’ class-A Briar Lake Plaza building in the Westchase submarket.

The bank’s lease at the building additionally includes 5,000 sf of executive offices on the sixth floor. Also near Briar Lake, First American plans to build a mini-lobby and drive-in at Westheimer and the Sam Houston Tollway feeder on a pad site.

Additionally, First American has closed on 1.7 acres at the corner of Sweetwater and Town Center in Sugar Land. First American bought the property from Sugarland Properties, which had in-house representation for the land transaction. First American has been represented by George Richards of DW Richards & Associates in this and all of its real estate transactions. The Sugar Land property will house a 5,000-sf stand-alone banking facility designed by architect Jack Cumpton of Bryan/College Station.

On coming to Houston, First American’s Houston president, Dennis Akromis tells Globest.com, “First American Bank is presently in 70 Texas locations, mainly in smaller communities. We are keenly aware of opportunities in Houston. We have been here a few years doing real estate projects and we felt the time was right to offer full service banking.”

Akromis notes that with a $35-million loan limit and $2.7 billion in assets, “We are a dynamic, progressive banking institution and we have the wherewithal to make things happen in Houston.” First American is also launching into the Dallas market this year.

The Sugar Land banking facility will open in late summer on the heels of the early summer opening of a similar building in the Cinco Ranch area of West Houston. Located on the corner of Mason Road and Westheimer Parkway, Akromis says the parcel is approximately 1.5 acres and the building will be 5,000 sf. First American bought this parcel from Turner Adreac Development Co. Akromis says his bank looks for good retail pad sites on corners.

Additionally, First American has purchased another tract of approximately the same size in Granite Properties’ Vision Park development near The Woodlands. This location will house a stand-alone, 5,000 sf bank at the corner of the US 45 feeder and Vision Park Blvd.

Akromis says First American is presently in negotiations with Washington Mutual Bank (formerly Bank United) to lease or purchase four of its former banking facilities. First American hopes to obtain the 5,000-sf Washington Mutual location at Buffalo Speedway and Richmond, an approximately 3,000-sf banking facility at Dairy Ashford and US 10, a 3,500-sf stand-alone bank on the main road leading into Deerbrook Mall and another 5,000-sf two-story bank at Broadway in Houston. Akromis says that if all goes well, each of the nine locations should be open a year from now.

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