Will This Become The Ultimate Gathering Place?

Just weeks after celebrating the opening of its Midtown Manhattan tower, Bank of America (BofA) opens another 700,000 sqft – 32 story office tower at College, Fifth and Trade streets in downtown Charlotte. Officially announced at a press conference on July 21, 2005, CEO Ken Lewis had only planned to build and own a $60 million 150-room luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a first in North Carolina. Then in November of 2006 work stalled and the construction trailers were removed, leaving many people wondering. With BofA also building a 55-story, 2.2 million sqft tower near New York’s Times Square, Lewis committed that the corporate headquarters would stay in Charlotte as long as he is CEO.

The hotel – redesigned and made taller to accommodate the new office tower would become part of a hub of connected buildings the bank is calling 1 Bank of America Center. Architects squeezed the new office tower into space between the bank’s parking garage and the planned hotel and linked to the 60 story headquarters building across the street via an enhanced glass pedestrian skybridge. They even found room for a wide-open public space inside called the Urban Garden, a six-story atrium between the office building and the hotel. It features granite floors, vegetation and a huge wall decorated with a Bank of America “flagscape” logo and the bank plans to add a video wall that will be visible from the street.

The new building will feature sky gardens at every third level, a six-story glass enclosed atrium for special events, and a transparent “Urban Garden” linking the tower to the new Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the same block. The office spaces bask in natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows, and heating / cooling units in cubicles that can be individually controlled to save energy. Corner conference rooms with live trees – watered with recycled water and green rooftops makes this an environmentally sustainable building – and a candidate for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standard for new construction.

Located between Founders Hall in the headquarters building and the Time Warner Cable Arena The Urban Garden will easily become Charlotte’s ultimate gathering place. The garden is open to the public with retail space to include a Rooster’s Wood Fired Kitchen, BLT Steak – modern American Steakhouse, and the Ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton. The visually inspiring winter garden offers an ideal space for everyday use, as well as events ranging from intimate casual gatherings to expansive black-tie receptions and galas. Whether you’re hosting a luncheon or planning a seated wedding reception or gala for 350 guests.

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