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A better face for Wachovia at Third, Tryon
One of uptown Charlotte's blander buildings is getting a makeover.
Wachovia Corp. said Wednesday it will renovate the vacant 14-story building it owns on South Tryon Street, dressing up the 50-year old structure that faces the Wachovia Plaza and adding retail space.
The Charlotte company began emptying the building last year as it weighed what to do with the aging facility. Real estate observers had said likely options were a renovation or demolition.
"That building has been a little vanilla," said Tim Newman, president of Charlotte Center City Partners. The "renovation will certainly spice things up."
The building at the corner of Third and Tryon is part of a sprawling Wachovia complex that includes three office towers, the Ratcliffe condominium project and a park. Its south wall, once decorated with a Charlotte Hornets mural, forms the north side of the plaza that flows into the atrium at Two Wachovia Center.
Wachovia also has proposed building a 700,000-square-foot office tower nearby at the corner of First and Tryon streets, which would include a theater for arts groups. City officials are studying the proposal, which would require public funding.
The renovation "is part of our large commitment to downtown and to building up this side of downtown," said Wachovia spokeswoman Sarah Greene.
The building was once the hub of predecessor First Union Corp. and originally served as the headquarters of Union National Bank, founded in Charlotte in 1908. It was renovated once before in the 1970s.
In 1954, it touched off a skyscraper race among the city's big banks that reached a climax with the 60-story Bank of America Corporate Center in 1992. First Union envisioned a possible 70- to 80-story tower on the site in the late 1990s, but those plans now appear to be permanently shelved.
The renovation will include office and retail space. The 250,000-square-foot building will house Wachovia employees, but the company has not decided what business units will occupy the building. It previously housed about 900 workers, who were shifted to other locations in the city.
"While we explored a number of possibilities, given the building's proximity to the outdoor plaza and the atrium renovating this space for employees became the clear choice," Tom Dorsey, senior vice president for Wachovia's corporate real estate division said in a statement.
Work will begin by year's end and be completed in 2006. The renovation plans were designed by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting and construction will be managed by Batson-Cook Co. Childress Klein Properties will handle leasing and property management.
Wachovia did not disclose the cost.