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First Financial Bank Buys Former Murphy Oil Headquarters

2 min read

First Financial Bank of El Dorado has purchased the former Murphy Oil Corp. headquarters in the city for an undisclosed amount and will relocate its own headquarters there.

The building at 300 E. Peach St. offers 87,000 SF of office space. It was listed for $15 million in November 2020, Arkansas Business reported. (Update: Union County property records indicate the sale price was $8 million.)

“We are excited to have the unique opportunity to acquire a state-of-the-art building that will resolve current space issues, promote operational efficiencies, and provide a modern, long term headquarters for future growth,” Chris Hegi, the bank’s CEO, said in a news release.

All of the bank’s administrative and support staff at First Financial Centre, 214 N. Washington Ave., will be relocated to the five-story Murphy Oil building. Built in 2015, it features a four-story atrium, 170-person video conference center, exhibit gallery space and a data center.

The building was home to Murphy Oil until it moved to Houston in 2020.

First Financial Bank of El Dorado had $1.5 billion in assets as of March 31. It reported 356 employees companywide on Arkansas Business’ April list of banks by assets.

The bank’s retail branch operations will continue at the First Financial Centre location, which is being purchased by Diversified Construction and Design for an undisclosed amount.

Diversified plans to occupy select floors, lease retail space on the ground floor and lease the remaining office space.

Both transactions are expected to close within the next 60 days.

“As our company continues to grow, we are in need of additional office space and look forward to the expansion opportunities that this move will provide. When this opportunity presented itself, we knew it would be a good fit. Our home is El Dorado, and we are committed to investing in our community,” said Diversified CEO Blake Williamson in the release.

The bank purchased the First Financial Centre location in 1997, and it has housed First Financial’s corporate headquarters since then. The eight-story building, built in 1927, saw a major expansion and restoration in 2017.

Initially, it was known as the Exchange Building and was the tallest building in Arkansas, according to the release. The building originally housed the corporate headquarters of Lion Oil Co. and the Exchange Bank. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

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