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Business Briefs

VA Mortgage Center moving to Ice Chalet

VA Mortgage Center.com has outgrown its offices near the Forum Boulevard-Chapel Hill Road intersection and plans to move to the vacant building on Grindstone Parkway that formerly housed the Ice Chalet and the Ice Chalet Antique Mall.

VA Mortgage has reached a preliminary agreement to buy the 43,000-square-foot building on a 6.3 acre site near U.S. 63, co-founder Brock Bukowski said. The closing is scheduled to take place in two months, and it will take another nine to 12 months to renovate the building, he said.

The Ice Chalet Antique Mall closed in October 2007.

Bukowski and his brother, Brant, founded the company, originally called Mortgage Research Center, in 2002, and in 2007 they had 86 employees. Now, VA Mortgage Center has about 250 employees working in the main office on Chapel Plaza Court and in two satellite offices in the Peachtree Plaza area.

Bukowski said they were unsuccessful in finding a suitable new building with 30,000 square feet or more of office space. “We didn’t want to do a remodel,” he said. “This (the move to the Ice Chalet building) is really by default.”

Census Bureau returns to Parkade Center

The U.S. Census Bureau has leased a customized 6,000-square-foot space in the Parkade Center on Business Loop 70 West.

The Census Bureau will have 52 employees in Columbia working to gather data for the census, which the federal government does every 10 years. The Parkade Center also housed the Census Bureau in 1999.

Benjamin Gakinya, manager of the Parkade Center, said the Census Bureau asked for high-tech security features for the office space, such as cipher locks. Construction is scheduled to be finished Aug. 5 and the government agency plans to move into the space in mid-August.

Howard, Randolph now enterprise zones

The Missouri Department of Economic Development has designated Howard and Randolph counties as enhanced enterprise zones.

Zone designation is based on the demographic criteria, the potential creation for sustainable jobs in a targeted industry and the demonstrated impact on local cluster development.

Shelter recognized as top performer

The Ward Group, a consulting firm that provides benchmarking and best-practices services to the insurance industry, has recognized the Shelter Life Insurance Company as a top-performing life insurer for the third consecutive year.

Ward Group also ranked the Shelter Insurance group among its top 50 performers out of over 2,700 U.S. property and casualty insurers analyzed for the annual ranking.

Columbia Mutual a ‘super-regional’ company

Demotech, a financial analysis and actuarial services firm based in Ohio, announced that Columbia Mutual Insurance Company has qualified as a “super regional” this year. Out of over 2,700 property and casualty companies, 149 met the objective criteria to be a super regional: at least $100 million of policyholder surplus, direct premium written of at least $25 million, and net written premium of at least $50 million.

Delta Acquires MethTrack

Delta Systems Group, a Web database system development company and provider of corporate PC and network support services, announced the acquisition of MethTrack LLC, an online system designed to help pharmacies comply with purchase logging requirements. The system helps fill a void in tracking who goes into retail stores and buys pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make methamphetamine, a psychostimulant. MethTrack (www.methtrack.com) is now a wholly-owned division of Delta Systems Group. Previously, Delta was a minority shareholder in the partnership.

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