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bobliocatt

BB&T wants to move into downtown Jacksonville

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This won't result in a new tower, but it will bring another large well known company and its employees into downtown, as well as fill up more existing office space.

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Branch Banking eyes downtown

Branch Banking & Trust Co. is considering a downtown address, and one possible site appears to be the present SunTrust Bank Building at 200 W. Forsyth St.

"We are interested in moving downtown," said BB&T North Florida region president Rip Howard.

Howard declined to discuss specific sites, but said Tuesday that a move probably would include its regional headquarters, commercial operations, wealth management and a branch.

Asked how much space BB&T would need, Howard said "it's a little premature" to discuss details.

"We are formulating plans," he said. "We need more space, but it is a little premature to discuss anything specific."

Howard said BB&T has more than 60 employees in Jacksonville and would add more as it expands.

The SunTrust space becomes available as SunTrust Bank moves to the Humana Center, which will be renamed SunTrust Tower, at 76 S. Laura St. SunTrust will lease 60,000 square feet there.

The property manager at the building SunTrust said Tuesday that he was negotiating with several financial services companies, including BB&T, for the space.

SunTrust leased about 50,000 square feet in the building. Its lease expires July 31, he said.

Property manager Michael Wood with Urbana Realty Advisors LLC said the building also has another 60,000 square feet of space available, meaning that 110,000 square feet, or almost half of the 270,000-square-foot building, will be available once SunTrust moves. "We certainly welcome all inquiries," Wood said.

BB&T is based in Winston-Salem, N.C., and has been moving into Florida with acquisitions. Last fall, it bought Tallahassee-based Regional Financial Corp., which operated First South Bank branches in Northeast Florida. It has six branches. BB&T also is buying St. Petersburg-based Republic Bancshares, which will further boost its Florida presence.

BB&T's main office in Jacksonville is in Southside at 10611 Deerwood Park Blvd.

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Fidelity Proposed Office Tower Update

FIDELITY: TriLegacy Group LLC President Ham Traylor said Tuesday that talks continue with Fidelity National Financial Inc. about Fidelity's interest in buying land at The Shipyards downtown to build a signature office tower.

"We are actively working on it," Traylor said. "It is not uncomplicated."

Traylor said that the city is involved in the talks, but Jacksonville Economic Development Commission Executive Director Kirk Wendland said Tuesday that TriLegacy, which is the shipyards developer, is handling any negotiations taking place.

"My understanding is there has been a fair amount of discussion among the parties, but they are the ones working that deal," Wendland said.

Traylor said there was no deadline. "It's just ongoing at this point in time. And I would stress actively," he said.

"If there is a deal to be made, everyone is trying to reach it as quickly as possible. We are trying to go very, very rapidly on it because as I understand it, Fidelity needs to make certain plans and move rapidly on other things," Traylor said.

Fidelity Chairman Bill Foley said a month ago that Fidelity would decide within about 30 days whether to develop on property near its Riverside Avenue campus or at The Shipyards downtown. Both are riverfront sites.

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So when Suntrust's name goes on the former Humana building, whose name will be on the former Suntrust building? Will it be BB&T? Or will we have two Suntrust buildings? That would be tacky...

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