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Bell Bank finalizes new lease for part of former Alorica building, hiring process already underway

May 17, 2022 | 10:33 am

Updated May 17, 2022 | 10:50 am

File photo by AP Imagery

Bell Bank has finalized an 11-year lease of a building at 234 Frederica Street (formerly home to Alorica) to house their new mortgage servicing center here. Bell began searching for a new location after an initial lease agreement was terminated due to a dispute and lawsuit between the landlord and former tenant. In April, Bell completed an amended lease agreement for the building.

“We are excited to announce this new location for our upcoming Bell Bank Mortgage servicing center,” said Bob Smiley, Bell Bank’s senior vice president/mortgage servicing director. “I’m happy to say the previous location delay only slightly impacted the hiring plans we announced in January, and we have already welcomed our first five Owensboro employees to Bell.”

Smiley said Bell plans to extensively remodel space on the building’s third, fourth and fifth floors and will temporarily occupy space on the building’s second floor during construction. Temporary space is expected to be open around Aug. 1, with permanent space completed in spring 2023.

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Bell projects it will hire 37 employees during the first year of operation of its mortgage servicing center, growing its local workforce to 178 employees by 2026. The company has Owensboro position openings posted online at bell.bank/careers.

“We appreciate the cooperation and partnership of the City of Owensboro, OWB Downtown LLC, Gulfstream Commercial Services and the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation,” Smiley said. “We’re grateful for all the interest and support in the area, and we look forward to being a part of this community.”

The initial lease was terminated after a federal judge did not immediately rule on a request from the landlord (Matt Hayden’s OWB Downtown LLC) that required a previous tenant (Alorica) to move prior to Bell’s lease.

OWB was suing Alorica for allegedly failing to pay the nearly $800,000 that OWB claimed they were owed and for Alorica not giving up possession of the premises — despite no longer physically occupying their building and previously agreeing via email to terminate their lease early. OWB also claimed Alorica was intentionally interfering with a new $7 million lease with Bell Bank. More on that lawsuit can be found here.

Despite the termination of that lease agreement, Bell Bank said they were committed to the Owensboro market and continued to search for a way to bring the mortgage service center here.

May 17, 2022 | 10:33 am

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