BofA to vacate Ballantyne building as it shrinks office footprint

Bank of America is vacating a 5 1/2-story building in Ballantyne Corporate Park, the Charlotte bank’s latest move to shrink the amount of office space it occupies.

The bank plans to vacate the Betsill building by the end of the year but remain in two other buildings the bank also leases in Ballantyne, spokeswoman Jennifer Darwin said Monday.

Bank of America is the only tenant in the Betsill building, Darwin said. “A couple hundred” of the employees who work there will move to Ballantyne’s five-story Sherrill building, she said. Others will move to offices in Gateway Village on West Trade Street, back-filling space where the bank laid off 540 mortgage workers this summer.

No layoffs are expected as a result of the relocation, she said.

Barry Fabyan, senior vice president of leasing for Bissell Cos., which owns Ballantyne Corporate Park, said the announcement did not take him by surprise.

“It’s not unexpected, given the size of the employer, to have needs that grow and contract over time,” he said. “We have a great relationship, we were given a heads-up to the move (and) we think the building is well situated to get re-leased.”

The move comes as Bank of America continues to reduce its real estate footprint as it seeks to slash costs. Darwin said the decision to vacate the Betsill building is part of the bank’s “effort overall to consolidate real estate, including the buildings in the Charlotte market.”

“This is a global effort for us. It’s our overall goal to be a more efficient company,” she said.

In its latest annual report, the bank said it owns or leases approximately 100.2 million square feet in 23,297 locations globally, down from the approximately 108.8 million square feet in 24,014 locations it reported a year earlier.

Last year, Bank of America sold the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center building in uptown. Also last year, the bank announced that it was not renewing its lease for two floors in BB&T Center, leaving the building altogether.

In 2012, Bank of America sold two uptown buildings, Hearst Tower and the Fifth Third Center, in separate deals.

In addition to the Sherrill building, where it is the only occupant, Bank of America will continue to occupy roughly two floors of the five-story Hixon building in Ballantyne Corporate Park.

Darwin declined to provide an exact figure for the number of Bank of America employees who work in the park but said close to 1,000 will remain there once the relocation is complete.