Bank of America to Build New Office Tower in Charlotte

32-story, $450M project will accommodate growth, enhance anchor in Charlotte


Centex Construction will be the general contractor and Perkins + Will the architect. Bob Hambright, chief executive of Centex Construction's Charlotte-based Southeast division, said work would likely begin in the next 30 days with probing and drilling of the site. More visible work would begin early next year.

Five tower cranes will eventually rise over a congested property that is hemmed by a parking garage on one side and city streets on the other three. Hambright will be able to keep a close eye on the project: He lives in an uptown condominium complex.

Banks Boosting City's Office Space

At 32 floors, Bank of America's planned new office tower would be the city's fifth tallest in stories. The neighboring Bank of America Corporate Center is the tallest at 60 stories.

Uptown office construction has been overshadowed recently by residential condos. Eight high-rise projects -- two of which will reach 50 stories -- are under way or announced.

Demand for office space is increasing in large part now because of expansion at the city's two big banking headquarters.

"The growth of the two largest players spurs additional growth from all the people who do business with Bank of America and Wachovia," said real estate analyst Melanie Sizemore of Carolinas Real Data.

Her third-quarter survey shows vacant space uptown has shrunk consistently over the past year from 6.6 percent to an extremely tight 4.7 percent.

Bank of America's 32-story tower, Wachovia's 48-story complex, the EpiCentre mixed-use development and a NASCAR office tower will increase space available for lease to about 1.5 million square feet.

That sounds like a lot, but Sizemore said, the buildings will have staggered openings over three or four years, easing fears of an office space glut.

In the short term, the center city space crunch could get worse. "The relief will come with the first new one to cross the finish line," Sizemore said.

DOUG SMITH

<<Charlotte Observer, The (NC) (KRT) -- 11/13/06>>