It’s been about six years since a new office building has risen in SouthPark, but that’s changing.
On Thursday morning, a ceremony was held to mark the completion of the tallest part of a five-story office building that will be part of the roughly $95 million Sharon Square mixed-use development.
The building will be home to a regional headquarters for Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, which will take up floors one through three.
The bank acquired branches in Charlotte and elsewhere in North Carolina after it bought Memphis, Tenn.-based National Commerce Financial Corp., parent company of Central Carolina Bank, in 2004. It plans to consolidate some of its Charlotte operations, including a nearby branch, into the new, $25 million headquarters building, in a move designed to give SunTrust more visibility.
As for the rest of the Sharon Square projects, which will include housing and shopping at Fairview and Sharon roads, work remains and buildings are still under construction. Whole Foods is the sole business open in the eight-acre project so far.
Sharon Square is expected to feature 239 apartments and about 89,000 square feet of retail space, including restaurants. The apartments and retail space are expected to be finished by the second quarter of next year.
“Our goal is to create an exceptional environment here,” developer Peter Pappas said at Thursday’s event. His company was behind the Metropolitan in Midtown and Birkdale Village in Huntersville, both mixed-use projects.
As a light rain fell on the halfway-built SunTrust building, attendees at the so-called topping-off ceremony crowded under a tent and watched as a crane placed a small tree on the top of the headquarters, a tradition in the construction industry. A select group of attendees signed a beam that was also placed on the top of the building.
Bill Peele, president of SunTrust’s Mecklenburg/South Carolina region, said the bank will relocate operations at 6836 Morrison Blvd. and in Piedmont Town Center to the headquarters building, which will house, among other things, the bank’s wealth-management staff.
Also, a SunTrust branch that sits mere feet away from the new headquarters building will be shuttered and moved to the headquarters. Peele said about 160 SunTrust employees will eventually work in the building, which will have space left over for other tenants on floors four and five.
Peele said the new headquarters is designed to “create more presence” for SunTrust.
“We like the visibility of SouthPark,” he said.
Pappas, developing Sharon Square with the Allen Tate Co., said the SunTrust building will be “substantially complete” by the end of the year. Also, he said, an information center for the Sharon Square project is expected to open in about 45 days.
SunTrust provided the financing for the headquarters. Pappas, on Thursday, called SunTrust “quite a coup” for Sharon Square.
SouthPark continues to be a magnet for banks, which in recent months have announced plans for branches or regional headquarters in the area. SouthPark, bank officials say, is a desirable location for them, in part because of fast growth in the area and the presence of upscale clientele.
SouthPark, the Charlotte area’s third-largest suburban office market, last saw new office construction in the third quarter of 2007, when the 125,000-square-foot Carolinas Medical Center Morrocroft facility was finished, according to Karnes Research Co.
Roberts: 704-358-5248 Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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