Bank of America Corporate Center

Bank of America Corporate Center Charlotte

Charlotte Architecture Tour/Bank of America Corporate Center
VAMONDE Charlotte
Written By VAMONDE Charlotte

Bank of America Corporate Center

The Bank of America Corporate Center is an 871 ft (265 m) skyscraper in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. When completed in 1992, it became the tallest building in Charlotte and in North Carolina; the building is 60 stories high. It is the 174th-tallest building in the world. Designed by Argentine architect César Pelli and HKS Architects, it is the 31st-tallest building in the United States and is the most widely known building in the Charlotte skyline. It is best known as the world headquarters for Bank of America.

Sometimes locally referred to as the Taj McColl after former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, who was responsible for the tower's construction. On a clear day the tower is visible to the naked eye from 35 mi away.

Announcement

On Wednesday, December 10, 1986, NCNB announced that it would be constructing what would become the Corporate Center. Jointly developed with Charter Properties, the project was initially announced as a 50 story tower to be constructed with a 350-room hotel and what would become the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The initial design for the 50 story tower was created by Charlotte-based Odell Associates. Its design featured a circular tower complete with a Greek cross lying flat on top to pay homage to the intersection of Trade and Tryon.

Additionally, its construction resulted in the demolition of an entire city block bound by North Tryon, East Trade, North College and East 5th Streets. The most notable buildings lost in its construction were the Belk department store, constructed in 1908, along East Trade and the Efird's department store, constructed in 1922, on North Tryon.

Design competition

On Monday, July 20, 1987, NCNB announced Lincoln Property as a general partner for the project. With the development team set, the process of hiring an architect of the project commenced in August 1987.

On Friday, September 25, 1987, the Cesar Pelli design was announced by NCNB Chairman Hugh McColl as being selected for the project. Additionally at the press conference it was revealed that the tower would be between 55-60 stories tall, sheathed in granite and be officially named the NCNB Corporate Center.

After winning the contract, its design was unveiled eight months later to the public on Tuesday, June 14, 1988. The final design was the 60 floor tower seen today. It features a 30 ft granite base along North Tryon Street followed by a facade of rosy beige granite and silver glass rising complete with curved sides. The tower gradually tapers through a series of six setbacks at the 13th, 44th and 53rd floors on the corners and at the 47th, 56th and 60th floors on the face as it reaches the tip of its crown 871 ft above Tryon Street.

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Construction

On Tuesday, January 3, 1989, demolition commenced on the block where the tower would eventually rise. The demolition work would take just over seven months to complete before excavation could commence. Site preparation would continue from August through November. During the excavation for the foundation, contractors found threads and flakes of gold embedded within pieces of granite removed from the site. The discovery was not unexpected as Charlotte was the center of America's first gold rush during the 1830s.

On November 19, 1989, the initial concrete pour was completed signaling the beginning of actual construction. After only a couple of months, construction was temporarily halted after Hurricane Hugo slammed Charlotte with 90 mi/h winds causing some damage on-site on Friday, September 22, 1989.

By November 1990, the tower had reached its 30th floor and as a result had risen to being the 5th tallest within Charlotte. On Wednesday, March 20, 1991, the tower officially became both Charlotte's and North Carolina's tallest when it reached a height of 589 ft at its 47th floor to surpass the 588 ft tall One First Union Center. The tower was officially topped-out on Wednesday, October 2, 1991 with the final concrete pour completed. From this point, the 95 ft tall crown was installed with its completion coming in December bringing the tower to its final 871 ft height.

Completed in July 1992, its official dedication ceremony took place on Saturday, October 17, 1992. The celebrations that day included live entertainment, rappellers from Fort Bragg's 16th Military Police Brigade rappelling the height of the tower and a fireworks show.

Current status

Since its completion, the Bank of America Corporate Center has been the world headquarters for what is now Bank of America. NationsBank bought BankAmerica Corporation in 1998, changed its name to Bank of America and sold off BankAmerica's headquarters at 555 California Street, then the Bank of America Center, in San Francisco. McKinsey & Company and Ernst & Young are also tenants in the tower.

The Bank of America Corporate Center's crown shaped spire is the focal point of the building and it makes it stand out architecturally. Its spire does not reflect from the outside like the Chrysler Building or any others; it shines from within and instead of stainless steel there is glass illuminated by floodlights, making it stand out from the many world skyscrapers. Bank of America began shining the top of the crown shaped spire from white to blue in honor of the Carolina Panthers who were NFC champions in the 2003-2004 NFL Season. In 2017 it was announced LED's had been installed in the spire.

FUN FACT:

The building was featured in the film Shallow Hal where the main character, played by Jack Black, was employed. The building was renamed "JPS Funds" to match the storyline. The building is also featured in the movie Bad Grandpa.

Cover Photo by James Willamor licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

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