Bank of America Plaza to get $20 million renovation, added retail space

The current sidewalk and ground floor at Bank of America Plaza on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.
The current sidewalk and ground floor at Bank of America Plaza on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.

One of uptown’s original office towers is getting a $20 million facelift that will add more ground-floor retail space, its owners said Monday.

Bank of America Plaza, located at the southeastern corner of the Trade and Tryon street intersection, will get a new and expanded lobby and exterior facade. Construction is set to start this month, and is planned to wrap up in the first quarter next year.

“Bank of America Plaza plays an important role in the city’s business community, and these renovations allow us to continue serving our tenants and the city with meaningful amenities to further enhance downtown’s growing retail scene,” said Scott Fordham, CEO of Dallas-based TIER REIT, which owns the building.

The building’s current ground floor is made up of black, reflective glass that doesn’t allow passersby to see into the building. The renovations will add four new retail spaces totaling 20,000 square feet. Increasing the amount of retail uptown has become a key goal of booster groups, which hope to continue diversifying uptown from being primarily an office and entertainment district.

“Charlotte center city is enjoying a retail revival and this project underscores the desire for more retail space,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, in a statement.

Opened in 1974 as the new headquarters for Bank of America predecessor NCNB, the tower at Trade and Tryon was a landmark achievement for uptown at the time. When the rapidly growing bank built the tower, which was the tallest in North Carolina at the time, city leaders working with then-Mayor John Belk were working to revive uptown and lure businesses back.

The 891,000-square-foot building is 92 percent leased, with tenants that include Bank of America, Alston & Bird, Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, and SCOR Global Life Americas.

Charlotte-based Redline Design Group has been working on the project, which leasing brokers said will enhance the office tower’s desirability among potential tenants.

“We have created a more pedestrian-friendly area with smaller shop fronts, outdoor seating areas, and a new, extended main building entry to engage the public plaza,” the company’s lead designer Richard Boswell said in a statement.

Mike Lucier, CBRE’s leasing manager for retail in the tower, said he’s already started receiving “significant interest” from shops and restaurants.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo