PHOENIX-Well Fargo Bank is looking for a 60-acre site to build an office campus that could have as much as 1 million sf.

The San Francisco-based financial services company is also one of Phoenix’s largest employers and private-sector tenants. It already plans to build at least two office buildings with 250,000 sf each within the next two years, says Leo Bauman, vice president of corporate properties for Wells Fargo.

The new campus would house some of the 8,700 employees that are now spread in buildings throughout the Valley. The bank, which merged with First Interstate Bank and then Norwest two years ago, has loan processing and customer service sites in several locations, most in leased space.

Wells Fargo has increased the amount of space it rents in the Valley by 500,000 sf during the past several years and now leases a collective 2.5 million sf across the state. The bank recently decided that that it makes more economic sense to owns its own buildings rather than continue to lease, Bauman says.

Wells Fargo has shown an interest in several parcels around the Valley. But real estate analysts tell that the bank may be leaning toward a parcel in the Cotton Center, an up-and-coming business park at the corner of 48th Street and Broadway in Phoenix.

The Cotton Center site is centrally located in the Valley and is close to several major freeways as well as to the airport. Wells Fargo will make a final decision on the site of its future campus within a few weeks, Bauman says.

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