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CHARLOTTE, NC-Despite Bank of America Corp.’s announced 30,000 to 35,000 layoffs over the next three years, local brokers say the Charlotte office market will remain resilient, even if the company scales back its space in the market’s CBD. News of the reduction in staff came Thursday when Bank of America issued a statement explaining that the planned layoffs are a result of the merger with New York-based Merrill Lynch and a reflection the current recessionary environment.

Bank of America Corporate Center, located at 100 N Tryon St. in Downtown Charlotte, is 60 stories tall with 1.2 million square feet of rentable space. The bank owns the building and occupies approximately 50% of that structure’s space, as well as 6,100 retail banking offices throughout the country.

The corporation also has a 750,000-square-foot tower under construction across from its Corporate Center to be completed in the second quarter 2010. A spokesperson for Bank of America tells GlobeSt.com that the company is still in the process of putting together a final plan and currently has no information about whether or not the bank’s space at any of its local offices will be affected. A more detailed plan is expected to be released early next year.

Even if Bank of America decided to reduce some of its real estate locally, the market can absorb the blows, say local brokers.

Despite rising job loss in the Charlotte market because of the turmoil of locally based financial institutions, vacancy in the city’s CBD is at an all-time low vacancy of 2.1%, according to a third quarter Cushman & Wakefield market report. The impact of the troubled financial institutions may not come for some time, writes assistant VP Patrick McCoy in the report, as the uncertainty and changes in the economy will hold off local decisions on relocations, expansions and downsizings.

“Downtown Charlotte is very healthy going into all of this,” says Steven Garrett, vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Charlotte. “Having said that we’re delivering a lot of product in 2009. Depending on how much Bank of America gives back, and cut backs that may take place with Wells Fargo/Wachovia Corp., we could see significant vacancies. I’ve heard people say it could go as high as 15%, which will certainly change the negotiating climate from where it has been. However, this is a cycle we’ve seen in Charlotte before, and we’ve always emerged from it healthier.”

Back in September Bank of America announced that it would buy Merrill to save the investment bank, which reportedly has tens of billions of dollars in assets that were devalued because of the credit crisis. GlobeSt.com reported earlier this month that Merrill stockholders approved the company’s acquisition, putting the deal on track to close by the targeted date of Jan. 1. The buyout would leave Bank of America with more than 20,000 financial advisors. According to a release, the announced layoffs will come “from both companies and affect all lines of business and staff units.”

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