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Old April 27th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #1
Carolina Blue
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Wachovia - Coming in 2008: Office tower, condos, park

Posted on Wed, Apr. 27, 2005

Wachovia jazzing up South Tryon

Coming in 2008: Office tower, condos, park

RICK ROTHACKER & DOUG SMITH
Staff Writers

Wachovia Corp. is expanding its plan for a mixed-use project on South Tryon Street, combining an office tower with condos, a park, a theater and an art museum.

The development would pump life into a drab patch of uptown and extend the company's headquarters campus across Tryon Street. The 30- to 35-story office tower would be uptown's first since the city's second tallest -- the 46-story Hearst Tower -- opened in 2001.

Wachovia last year announced plans for a building that would house a theater and classrooms for Wake Forest University's business school, but found the project a tight fit for a half-block it owns on South Tryon. A push for new arts facilities also has moved slowly before City Council.

Now the Charlotte-based bank says it will use that half block and an adjacent city block it is buying from Duke Energy Corp., creating a four-acre site bounded by South Tryon, Stonewall and Church streets as well as the existing 400 South Tryon building. The complex would house Wachovia employees, the business school and other tenants, including retailers.

Wachovia real estate executive Bob Bertges told the Observer Tuesday that the company wants to move quickly on the tower, condos and park, scheduled to open in 2008. While Wachovia would contribute land for the arts facilities, it is asking the city and county to pay to build the theater and proposed Bechtler art museum using property taxes generated by the office tower and condos.

Spending tax dollars on arts and entertainment facilities has proved controversial in the past.

City Council member John Lassiter, who chairs the economic development committee, Tuesday called the plan an "exciting development ... that will allow us to make significant progress toward meeting our cultural facilities needs."

The project, however, would appear to stymie a plan pushed by Mayor Pat McCrory to combine the Bechtler museum with a new uptown site for the Mint Museum of Art. In recent months, the museums have eyed a joint facility on North Tryon Street property owned by Bank of America Corp.

McCrory declined comment Tuesday, saying he had not seen the latest plan.

The project would jumpstart a side of uptown largely devoid of the cultural facilities and restaurants that have sprung up a few blocks to the north. The company also said the development reflects its ongoing commitment to its headquarters city.

Bertges envisions a swath of development that ties Wachovia's three existing towers to the Charlotte Convention Center on College Street and Duke's headquarters building on Church Street. In the middle would be First Street flanked by condos and a park on one side and an office tower and museum on the other.


"My vision is we will jazz First Street up so it will really be a fun street," he said.

Wachovia would not disclose the cost of the project. A spokeswoman said the company would contribute land for the arts facilities as part of its previously announced $8 million commitment to the Arts & Science Council's proposed cultural package.

The office tower would be similar in height to the 32-story Three Wachovia Center -- the building across South Tryon with the colorful reflective sculptures on top -- and likely of a similar design. The condos and park would mimic the successful Ratcliffe and Green development across the street.

Responding to renewed interest in urban living, developers have shifted from office to condo construction in the center city, where seven towers have been announced during the past year.

The bank expects to occupy about half the space in the new building -- about 450,000 square feet -- by moving employees from leased offices uptown. Bertges said the nation's No. 4 bank by assets could save money by occupying a building it owns rather than leases.

The bank's landlords on other buildings would have to find new tenants, but "with the project approximately three years off, that's enough of a planning window to begin re-tenanting the buildings," said real estate analyst Melanie Sizemore of Carolinas Real Data.

She said the center city office market should be able to withstand the additional space.

Carolinas Real Data's first-quarter office report likely will show the center city vacancy rate has shrunk to around 7.1 percent from 8.81 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, Sizemore said.

Real estate analyst Frank Warren of Warren & Associates said, "This is purely speculative, but by 2008 the financial landscape in terms of the large regional (banks) could change again. We could see more consolidation in the industry and a bigger need for more space."

Childress Klein Properties will be the developer, while TVS Architects and Batson-Cook Co. will design and construct the theater and office tower.

Based on the estimated size of 900,000 square feet, real estate experts say the tower could cost $270 million or more, including parking and ground level retail space. To generate enough property tax revenue to pay for the theater and museum, the project would have to approach $300 million.

Duke Energy has owned its property on South Tryon Street for about 10 years and had considered it the possible site for a new headquarters building. But spokesman Randy Wheeless said the company now has enough space.

A Firestone service station, which would be demolished, leases part of the land. Parking lots and a Duke-owned print shop cover the rest of the property.

Link:
http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlot...s/11498502.htm

Click to see larger:
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Old April 27th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #2
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Man, that tower is truly going to strengthen S. Tryon Street's appearance even more. I love entering Uptown from S. Tryon and I can't imagine how nicer it will be in a few years. Does anyone have a rendering to share, from the street level, or from an elevated position? I have seen the bird's eye view, but I am also curious to see how this project is expected to alter the view from a closer location.

Thanks for sharing this article. Glad to see that Wachovia is trying to create a mixed-use environment
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Old April 27th, 2005, 07:15 PM   #3
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Havnt found any yet but remember the old First Union designs in 1999?
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Old April 27th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #4
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woohoo!! great news. charlotte's skyline just continues to grow.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 08:48 PM   #5
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No renderings are out yet...will probably be a little while...but Raleigh expect the building to be similar to 3 Wachovia...the one with the glass spires on the top which was built 5 years ago.

I think this plan will be a lot better than the previous one...they really were trying to squeze too much on half a block.
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Old April 27th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #6
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Thanks, uptownliving...
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Old April 27th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #7
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earlier i think they finally realized that half the building would have to rest inside of this arts theater [collums through the middle?]. the lot just seemed too small for what they wanted. now they can get in much more. i really do like this plan!
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Old April 27th, 2005, 11:15 PM   #8
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btw - you know you can just link from the image that's on the observer's website?
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Old April 28th, 2005, 01:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Style
btw - you know you can just link from the image that's on the observer's website?
No, I didn't. How does that work?
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Old April 28th, 2005, 04:37 AM   #10
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I don't want the design to be too much similar to 3 Wachovia, too much of the same is a bad thing, I would love to see different colors and more postmodern design.
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Old April 28th, 2005, 04:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Blue
No, I didn't. How does that work?
right click on the image, select image properties. then copy the url in there and place them between the image brackets. [img] and [ /img] ---without that space.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:28 PM   #12
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I'm a bit disappointed by the size scope of the office tower. It'd be interesting to compare the square footage of the project compared to the boring white box of a building Wachovia turned over to Duke Power. It seems based on the estimates on the number of stories that it does not reflect a lot of in-town growth for Wachovia... looks like just swapping one building for a nifty-keen new building.

Now if they still use a significant portion of the old Wachovia building, that's a different story.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 04:30 PM   #13
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They haven't occupied that old Wachovia building in many many years.......Duke Energy now occupies about 85% of it.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 06:58 PM   #14
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The Wachovia building does sound fantastic! I'm assuming that there are no renderings out yet or someone would have posted them.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 04:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinerLoudNProud
I'm a bit disappointed by the size scope of the office tower. It'd be interesting to compare the square footage of the project compared to the boring white box of a building Wachovia turned over to Duke Power. It seems based on the estimates on the number of stories that it does not reflect a lot of in-town growth for Wachovia... looks like just swapping one building for a nifty-keen new building.

Now if they still use a significant portion of the old Wachovia building, that's a different story.

27 Stories occupied by Duke, and 2 occupied by the FBI, the other(s) is vacant.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 03:55 AM   #16
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Nice plans. I am looking forward to a rendering.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 04:07 AM   #17
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Here’s a follow-up article that talks about how the Wachovia project is expected to spur other development on South Tryon.


Posted on Wed, May. 04, 2005

South Tryon at a turning point

DOUG SMITH

The Next Big Thing


Charlotte's burst of high-rise condominium announcements caught real estate experts by surprise last spring.

Now history is repeating itself. This year's spring surprise is South Tryon Street, which suddenly has become hot property, thanks to Wachovia Corp.

The bank disclosed plans last week for a mixed-use project combining a 30- to 35-story office tower with condos, a park, museum and theater on 4 acres, including the 500 block and part of the 400 block.

Uptown insiders now predict that development dominoes will begin to fall as other nearby properties come into play.

More condos, more green space, more restaurants and more shops could be in the offing for a stretch of the financial district that has played second fiddle for a decade to North Tryon's vibrant cultural and entertainment facilities.

The next big thing in South Tryon development might be just around the corner from Wachovia's new project.

The Tryon-and-Third-streets block between the Latta Arcade and the 230 South Tryon condo conversion project could be one of the first to benefit from the excitement the bank generates.

The property has been vacant since Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers cleared it six years ago and announced plans for a 28-story office tower.

"I've got to believe that this new momentum makes it much more attractive," said Michael Smith, president of Charlotte Center City Partners.

Charlotte's Spectrum Properties represents Hartford, Conn.-based Cornerstone, which also owns the Church Street block directly behind the property, now used for parking.

Spectrum Chairman Jim Dulin confirmed the owner is thinking about more than an office building in light of what's occurring near the site.

"We're looking at the South Tryon block and the block behind it as office mixed-used with retail on Tryon and residential overlooking the (future) Third Ward park," he said.

"We haven't designed the project, but I think we're getting ready to work on it," Dulin said. "Once we believe Third Ward is really cooking, we'll get started on it."

That might happen sooner than most people anticipated.

County Parks Director Wayne Weston said his department expects to finalize an agreement within 30 days with LandDesign Inc. to begin designing the 8-acre park, bounded by Second, Mint, Graham and Fourth streets.

Site clearing could begin by early summer, and park land could be ready for "rudimentary leisure use" by the time the Carolinas Panthers start their regular season in the fall, he said.

"We're following the model of (8-acre) Bryant Park in New York," Weston said. "In 10 years we will be like Bryant Park, with housing around the edges and tremendous opportunities for mixed use."

Uptown watchers also believe the Power Building, across First Street from Duke Energy Corp.'s headquarters and across Church from the Wachovia development block, will attract attention because of its proximity to the Third Ward park and the new buildings.

The office building, built in 1927, is owned by The Dilweg Cos., which bought it for $8 million last year knowing that anchor tenant Duke planned to vacate by early 2006.

Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless said Duke has enough leased space in the 400 S. Tryon building to accommodate the relocating workers.

Anthony Dilweg, chairman of the Durham commercial real estate investment firm, referred to the purchase last year as an investment play in an area on the verge of revitalization.

The block on the other side of Tryon from Wachovia's project at Stonewall also likely will get some serious looks, thanks to its strategic location.

"If you look at that site, it's pinned between Wachovia's tower and the proposed NASCAR hall of fame," Smith said. "I've got to believe that will be an attractive piece."

A subsidiary of Eastern Federal owns a substantial portion of that block.

"We certainly have been watching uptown development with interest and are looking forward to finding the highest and best use," Eastern Federal CEO Carter Meiselman said without disclosing details.

The high-rise condo craze -- seven residential towers announced in the past year -- has attracted site-seeking developers from across the country.

One of the key things they're looking for is a location with a view that can't be blocked by another building, said commercial real estate broker Steve Harris of Harris, Murr & Vermillion.

He and his partners might have just the property for them: the parking lot directly across from the Observer building in the 600 block of South Tryon.

"The success of the urban high-rise structures we've had throughout downtown and this Wachovia announcement puts more of a bloom on South Tryon," he said.

"One of the raps on South Tryon is its lack of dining, culture and things to walk to and see within a block or two," Harris said.

"That kind of goes away," he said, "with the condo conversion at 230 South Tryon, with what's happening on Wachovia's site and with the activity around the Ratcliffe condos and The Green on South Tryon."

Developers have looked closely at the property owned in the 600 block by Harris' investors and Crescent Resources, a Duke Energy subsidiary. Most were looking for mixed-use projects, but that was before the recent wave of announcements.

When might something happen there?

"It's hard to say," Harris said. "I believe it's currently ready, but we purchased it in 1987 thinking it was going to be ready."

Activity hasn't been as intense on South Tryon as on North Tryon, but the street has been inching forward over the past five years.

Spectrum Properties renovated the old 15-story Barclays Building between Third and Fourth streets for offices, restaurants and shops.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant will open a 300-seat restaurant May 13 on the ground level of the renovated 17-story building that once housed BB&T in the 200 block.

And, of course, the 1.5-acre Green, developed by Wachovia, has become a popular gathering spot in the 400 block near First Street.

Wachovia plans to design its mixed-use project, to open in 2008, with a park and condos that mesh with the Ratcliffe and The Green. A tunnel under Tryon is to connect the tower to the park, condos, restaurants and Overstreet Mall.

Smith at Center City Partners has worked in South Tryon offices since the late 1990s. He sees the latest resurgence as public investment paying off.

"The city has made enormous investments in its center city in both the commitments we've made to the new arena and transit," he said. "We've done great long-term planning."

The multi-millions in investment combined with a national trend toward urban living created the "turning point" the city is experiencing now, Smith said.

Wachovia Mixed-use Project

Here are key pieces of Wachovia Corp.'s plan for South Tryon Street. The bank's 4-acre site includes the 500 block, now occupied by a Firestone auto service center and a parking lot, and a half-block at South Tryon and West First streets.

30- TO 35-STORY TOWER:

Wachovia and Wake Forest's business school would be major tenants in the 900,000-square-foot building.

CONDOS:

Condos would resemble the 57-unit, 10-story Ratcliffe on the Green on the other side of South Tryon.

THEATER:

The 1,200-seat performing arts theater would relieve a space crunch at North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

ANOTHER PARK:

An urban park would run through the development, essentially extending The Green park.

MUSEUM:

A new museum would showcase some of the Bechtler family's private art, including works of Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas and Andy Warhol.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 04:15 AM   #18
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how are they fitting 900000sqft of space in a 30 story building this thing must be bulky
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Old May 5th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #19
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Yeah.....it will likely be very similar to 3 Wachovia which is 32 stories and also about 900,000 sq. ft., and also designed by the same architects......it is very wide in one direction, and average width in the other......it's an ok design, but certainly not a beauty contestant........I would love to see this building with some curvature to it like a smaller version of "The Heritage at Millenium Park" in Chicago.

Regardless, this building will be a natural expansion of the skyline, and will hopefully provide great streetscape ammenities to a part of Uptown that is just so so for the pedestrian.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:00 PM   #20
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Okay, so let's see someone with mad PhotoShop skills give us their interpretation of what Charlotte will look like in twenty years. If this developmental momentum continues much longer with all these major towers being announced every other day, in twenty years or so, Charlotte will be right up there with Denver and Minneapolis in the most beautiful mid-size skyline club.
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