Public gives comments on proposed merger between BB&T and SunTrust
BB&T and SunTrust Banks on Wednesday announced that Hearst Tower in uptown Charlotte will be the corporate headquarters for the new bank they plan to form in a merger.
Offices for the proposed bank will occupy more than half of the 46-story building at 214 N. Tryon St., the banks said. Over time, the headquarters will house approximately 2,000 employees, according to the banks.
In a statement, BB&T CEO Kelly King called Hearst a “signature” tower in uptown and the perfect spot for the headquarters.
“This prime location will put our new company in the heart of the vibrant financial district and is the right backdrop” for the combined company, he stated.
SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers said in a statement that the location will help foster collaboration and innovation.
The banks announced their plans to merge in February and create the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. by assets and deposits. Their merger still requires regulatory approval.
If approved by regulators, it will combine Winston-Salem-based BB&T and Atlanta-based SunTrust in an approximately $66 billion deal.
Regulatory approvals are expected this year, according to the banks, which unveiled the name of the new bank on Wednesday: Truist.
Hearst Tower plans
At Hearst, the new bank will take up more than 550,000 square feet of the nearly 965,000-square-foot building, the banks said. Employees will move into the space over the next several years, according to the banks.
The headquarters offices will house the new bank’s executive management team. Leadership groups in areas such as corporate communications, finance, human resources, insurance, legal, technology and risk management will also be in Hearst.
Cousins Properties, which owns the building, said in a press release that it has entered into a 15-year lease with the banks.
That agreement includes an option for BB&T and SunTrust to purchase the property from Cousins for $455.5 million by the end of this year, Cousins said.
BB&T and SunTrust will start occupying the building in phases starting in August and ending in June 2021, Cousins said. The banks’ space is currently occupied by Bank of America and other tenants who will move out to make way for BB&T and SunTrust, according to Cousins.
The tower is one block from Bank of America’s headquarters building at Trade and Tryon streets. Other banks have had operations nearby for years.
Bank of America used to own Hearst Tower, until it sold it in 2012 to Orlando, Fla.-based Parkway Properties. Atlanta-based Cousins merged with Parkway in 2016.
The choice of the Hearst site bucks a trend of banks moving in recent years to new towers on the other end of Tryon, along a corridor on Stonewall Street.
Bank of America, Regions Financial and Ally Financial area among the banks that have occupied, or plan to move into, those buildings, which sit along a two-block stretch between College and Church streets.
Innovation and technology center
As part of their merger plans, BB&T and SunTrust have said they intend to open an innovation and technology center in Charlotte.
The banks reiterated plans for the center on Wednesday.
BB&T spokesman David White said a decision on a location for the center has not been made yet.
That center is expected to serve as a type of lab where the new bank would create banking technology.
BB&T and SunTrust have said a key reason for the merger is to provide the new bank with greater scale to provide the digital services clients expect.
“We’re focused on positioning ourselves to be a leader in terms of innovation and technology so that we can compete effectively with the largest institutions in the country,” King told industry analysts in April.