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Heard on the Street: Credit union to build new northwest branch

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Altra Federal Credit Unionhopes to break ground on a new northwest branch yet this fall.

The La Crosse, Wis.-based credit union plans to build a 7,400-square-foot branch office on the open southwest corner at West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest. Altra already has a Rochester branch at 123 16th Ave. SW.

Cheryl Dutton, Altra's vice president of marketing, says the credit union owns two potential branch sites — the one on 19th Street and one on 55th Street Northwest. Altra purchased the West Circle/19th Street land for $1.35 million in August 2016 and the 55th Street parcel for $1.25 million in December 2015.

"We decided to build on the 19th Street site first because it's the bigger piece and it allows us to build a bigger office," she said.

Dutton says that means Altra will be able to staff the branch with full business and mortgage lending teams as well as retail branch employees. They expect there will be 10 to 12 employees working at the branch.

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"That 19th Street and West Circle area has high traffic, retail growth and expected residential growth. It's a good spot for us," she said.

The hope is to break ground yet this fall and open the branch in the fall of 2018. Branch manager Brittany Johnson, Altra's Rochester market manager, will be based at the West Circle Street office.

The new branch will include a drive-through and a new "smart" automatic teller machine, which will offer more services than a standard ATM. The branch also will feature a large public meeting room for Altra to host financial education seminars.

This new spot will put Altra in the mix of what's becoming Rochester's financial district. Home Federal Savings Bank, Associated Bank, West Bank and US Bankhave branches on or near that intersection. Think Mutual Bank and Olmsted National Bankalso have major branches within a few miles of the intersection.

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