May 17, 2021 - News

Duke Energy to trim office footprint and move HQ into new tower Uptown

Courtesy of Duke Energy

Charlotte-based Duke Energy said Monday it plans to move its corporate headquarters to a 40-story tower formerly called Metro Tower, which is under construction in Uptown.

Duke said it plans to significantly reduce its overall office footprint by 60% by selling some offices and exiting some leases, including at its iconic 48-story Duke Energy Center, its current headquarters — as a cost-saving measure.

  • Construction on the new tower, the Duke Energy Plaza, will wrap up next year, Duke said in a statement. Interior work will continue into 2023. Eventually, the tower at 525 S. Tryon will house roughly 4,400 Duke Energy employees.

Why it matters: Although Duke had previously disclosed plans for an office-space consolidation a few years ago, the company said Monday it’ll adopt a “hybrid” model for in-person work, a growing trend among companies looking to cut back on their physical office space during the pandemic.

  • The majority of Duke’s office employees will split time between working in the office and working remotely, the company said.
  • Atrium Health, the region’s biggest employer, told Axios a few months ago that it is considering trimming its office footprint across the Charlotte metro by 10% over the next year. The move could save the hospital system $10 million. [Go deeper]

Details: After “a thorough review of the company’s current and future real estate needs in Uptown,” Duke says it plans to exit the Duke Energy Center at 550 South Tryon St., the martini glass-shaped tower completed in 2010. Wells Fargo will backfill some of Duke Energy’s offices at 550 South Tryon when the utility company moves, CBJ reported.

  • Duke will also exit its offices at Piedmont Town Center in South Park.
  • When its new headquarters is complete, Duke will sell its offices at 526 Church St. and 401 College St. Additionally, it’ll exit its lease at 400 South Tryon St.

By the numbers: Duke’s consolidation into the new tower means it can trim its office footprint Uptown from approximately 2.5 million square feet to about 1 million square feet over the next several years. This consolidation will result in $85-$90 million in savings over the next five years, Duke says.

What they’re saying: “These actions will allow us to operate our business more efficiently, enhance employee productivity and better serve our customers and communities,” said Donna Council, Duke Energy’s SVP of administrative services and real estate. “It will also free up premium real estate in Uptown Charlotte for other purposes.”

Developer Childress Klein Properties is behind the new Duke Energy Plaza. The property will include 1 million square feet of office space and roughly 25,000 square feet of retail.

Here’s what the property will look like when it’s complete. (Renderings courtesy of Duke Energy)

Duke Energy Plaza
Duke Energy Plaza
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