Reimagining Vintage Office
LocationCharlotte, North Carolina
301 South Tryon, formerly One Wells Fargo Center, was built in the late 1980s as a corporate office tower for the bank’s headquarters. The building housed C-Suite executive operations, a data center, and a call center for over 35 years. However, the building is more than 60% vacant. Progressive AE formed a team of community partners to address the office vacancies holistically and identify amenities that Uptown Charlotte could benefit from. The team’s design featured small business start-up spaces, flexible indoor or outdoor event spaces, housing, childcare facilities, artist studios, connections to public transportation and the existing YMCA, and more.
As part of the design solution, a portion of the building that included two parking levels was removed to create a new plaza and open event space for the community, creating a walkable connection to the light rail. An additional 250K square feet of office building would be repurposed to accommodate the new uses. In addition, a detailed project proforma tested the viability of the project’s estimated development and construction costs against the lease rates for the new uses and higher lease rates projected for the remaining office space post-conversion.
To further incentivize the proposed project, the team developed the following plans to contribute to the overall welfare of the uptown community:
- Offer free light rail passes to employees of new office tenants through the City of Charlotte.
- Incentives for office-to-residential conversion, affordable housing, uptown activation, small and emerging businesses, and arts and cultural initiatives through direct grants and TIF financing from the City of Charlotte.
- Utilize existing federal incentives such as HUD’s Community Block Grant Program and Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing Program for financing affordable housing development, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) programs focused on spurring development along public transportation nodes, such as the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program (RRIF).