RICHMOND, VA- The Capital Club at Shockoe Slip, a new upscale athletic club, has leased the 10,000-sf second floor of the 540,665-sf Bank of America Building here owned by American Financial Realty Trust. The tenant is scheduled to take possession of the floor on Jan. 1. A grand opening will take place later in the first quarter.

The Bank of America Building is located at 1111 E. Main St., which is in the heart of the financial district. The second foor was most recently used as a corporate cafeteria by Bank of America, which leased a majority of the building until it officially gave back all but 160,000 sf in July 2004. American Financial managing director Will Augenbraun tells that the bank shuttered the cafeteria in 1998 and the space has been unoccupied since that time.

American Financial Realty Trust acquired the building at the end of 2002 but didn’t have leasing and management control until BofA gave back space and control last summer. It was 100% leased when it was acquired, most of it to Bank of America. The space handed back by BofA and an additional 90,000 sf given back by the Troutman Sanders law firm, which constructed its own building, pushed vacancy above 50% last year. The building is now back up to 55% occupancy thanks to the athletic club lease and an additional 30,000 sf of leasing since the start of the year, says Augenbraun.

Asking rates for space in the building are $14.50- to $19.50 per sf per year, exclusive of electric. Augenbraun says leasing activity has picked back up and will bump rental rates as occupancy increases over the near term. He is currently chasing three large deals that would backfill the law firm space.

“We’ve really changed the look of the building,” says Augenbraun. “We spent significant dollars repositioning the asset and dressing up the exterior, and plan to invest additional capital; this was a solid B asset, and my goal is to compete in the A- arena.”

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