Power Tower

Duke BuildingBack in 2007 Wachovia announced that its new headquarters would be at 550 South Tryon Street. Fast forward four years and the building has unofficially been coined the Power Tower -- a fitting name considering the power players that'll occupy what's now the Duke Energy Center. In spite of the 'scraper's identity crisis and a few companies that pulled out last minute (ahem, Wake Forest School of Business), next year we'll see some occupants. Here's an inside look at who's coming (and who bailed).
The handlebar-like structure at the top of the building is all the talk. The developer says the Duke Energy Center is the only building like it in the country with that handlebar look. There's one building similar to it in Shanghai.

The tower will have a sky window on top, and a garden—but only maintenance workers will have access.

Occupying about 500,000 square feet, Duke Energy will be the primary tenant and have the most prestigious floors of forty-six through forty-eight, which will serve as the headquarters floors and will likely house the executive suites. It will move in in late 2010.

The skyscraper would likely be full of tenants if Wachovia/Wells Fargo were still using it as its headquarters since the bank had planned to occupy the majority of the building.

Duke will also occupy floors thirty-six through forty-eight (as well as floors fifteen through twenty-two), though they won't be nearly as fancy as the top floors.

Law firm Sonnenschein was supposed to occupy 35,000 square feet on floors thirty-four and thirty-five. But since closing its Charlotte offices (the firm, which focuses on financial law, took a hit when the economy bombed), Sonnenschein is expected to sublease the space. No takers … yet.

Floor thirty-three is open.

Audit/tax advisory firm KPMG will have 48,000 square feet on floors thirty-one through thirty-two.

Floor thirty is open.

Law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP will occupy 47,000 square feet on floors twenty-eight through twenty-nine.

Floor twenty-seven is open.

Accounting firm Deloitte will occupy 82,000 square feet on floors twenty-three to twenty-six.

Wake Forest School of Business would have shared a training floor with what was then Wachovia. But now that Wachovia-turned-Wells Fargo will no longer be headquartered there, Wells isn't making the capital investment to make it the learning facility Wake needed (state-of-the art computers and audiovisual equipment). It will now be a general office floor instead of a classroom.

Floors eleven through fourteen (no one likes unlucky number thirteen!) are open.

Wachovia reviewed twenty-five architectural concepts before settling on the design and beginning development in 2005.

Wells Fargo, which still owns the building, will occupy floors one through ten. Floor ten will feature a roof garden.

About 10 percent of the tower is still unleased, which the developer attributes to the sagging economy.

There will be restaurants and retail open to the public on the street level, though none have been confirmed as of press time.

Definition of the Month

SHOVEL READY n. An overused but misunderstood term used to define projects that qualify for the gazillion-dollar federal stimulus money set aside to save the economy and generate jobs. Projects deal with transportation, environmental resources, and public buildings and must be ready to start … yesterday. "Many in Charlotte are frustrated I-485 is a long way from being shovel ready." —M. B.