Bank of America Corporate Center

Edit profile
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 and still is the tallest building in North Carolina as well as the tallest building between Philadelphia and Atlanta, Georgia; it is 60 stories high. It is the 76th tallest building in the world. Designed by Argentine architect César Pelli and HKS Architects, it is the 24th tallest building in the United States and is the most widely known building in the Charlotte skyline. Sometimes locally referred to as the Taj McColl after then North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) chairman Hugh McColl who was responsible for the tower's construction, on a clear day the tower is visible to the naked eye from 35 miles (56 km) 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. The architectural firms that competed for the job included:
  • I.M. Pei of New York City
  • Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Los Angeles
  • Cesar Pelli & Associates of New Haven, Connecticut
  • HKS Architects of Dallas
  • John Burgee Architects of New York City
  • WZMH Group of Dallas
  • Kohn Pederson Fox Associates of New York City
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-foot (9.1 m) 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 feet (265 m) above Tryon Street.

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. The mat foundation consists of a thick slab containing 3,500 cubic yards (2,700 m 3) of concrete and 150 tons of reinforcing steel at the center of the tower. The foundation reaches 38 feet (12 m) below Tryon Street at its deepest point with the tower being supported by 36 concrete and steel piers. These piers are able to withstand the 150,000 pounds of pressure per square foot placed upon them by the 300 million pound structure. After only a couple of months, construction was temporarily halted after Hurricane Hugo slammed Charlotte with 90 mph (140 km/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 feet (180 m) at its 47th floor to surpass the 588-foot (179 m) 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-foot (29 m) tall crown was installed with is completion coming in December bringing the tower to its final 871-foot (265 m) height. By January 1992, the tower had since been renamed the NationsBank Corporate Center to reflect the banks name change from NCNB in summer 1991. On May 1, the first tenants moved into the tower with its inaugural crown lighting taking place on May 9. 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.

FAA controversy
In spite of being approved by both USAir and the airport authority as not posing a hazard, on May 15, 1989, a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration stated that the tower's height would potentially jeopardize some flights taking off and landing at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. A June 12 appeal filed with the regional FAA office in Atlanta upheld the original ruling resulting in the case being appealed to Washington. Although the FAA could not force NCNB to halt construction of the tower, its "declaration of hazard to air navigation" could have potentially cost the city millions in federal airport grants as well as impeding the ability of NCNB to secure insurance for the tower upon its completion. By December 1989, the issue was resolved when the FAA ruled that slight changes in air-traffic procedures around the building would resolve the hazard posed by the 871-foot (265 m) tower. With the influence of both U.S. representative Alex McMillan and Senator Ernest Hollings, the reversal of the original ruling was made after further review by the FAA. Since its construction, there has not been an incident involving an aircraft and the tower.

Current status
Today, the Bank of America Corporate Center serves as the world headquarters for Bank of America, the largest bank in the United States. The building was originally the headquarters of NationsBank, which bought Bank of America and disposed of BankAmerica's headquarters at 555 California Street, then the Bank of America Center, in San Francisco. McKinsey & Company is also a tenant 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. Recently, 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. The Center's lobby boasts a work of art by artist Ben Long, one of the largest secular frescoes in the world. The work took more than a year to complete and was painted on site using the traditional technique of fresco painting. Connected to the tower is the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, which contains three performance halls and overlooks the tower from various skylights. The official address of the Bank of America Corporate Center is 100 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. On July 20, 2005 Ken Lewis, then CEO and Mr. Cyprian White of the Credit Bureau of the Bank of America, announced the construction of a brand new 150 key Ritz-Carlton located inside the Bank of America Corporate Center.

In Pop Culture
  • The building was featured in the film Shallow Hal where the main character, Jack Black, was employed. The building was renamed "JPS Funds" to match the storyline.
  • The building can be seen in multiple panoramic shots of Uptown Charlotte in the film Nell .


Media

4 photos

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • activity.buildings_person.create and updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com