SunTrust negotiating major office move out of downtown tower & into Lincoln project

SunTrust Bank is in negotiations to lease approximately 100,000 square feet in the new Church Street Plaza tower now under construction in downtown Orlando, with plans to vacate up to double that space next year in its self-branded SunTrust Center office tower.

Located at 200-250 S. Orange Ave., the SunTrust Center was bought by Piedmont Office Realty Trust in November 2015, and offers 693,169 square feet of Class-A leasable area across the 35-story tower and a second building, and a 408,000-square-foot, seven-story parking garage. 

SunTrust Bank has been leasing the entire 128,000 square feet in that second building which fronts S. Orange Avenue, but subleases about 6,000 square feet of it to Wahlburgers on the ground floor. 

In the center's tower, SunTrust has been leasing six floors, which include the first floor's 10,000-square-foot lobby. Floors 2-6 in that lease are each 24,000 square feet, though one is fully subleased. 

Not counting the subleaser that may retain its space, that sums an estimated 106,000 square feet in the tower and 122,000 square feet in the secondary building that SunTrust may vacate. 

Three sources in downtown commercial office brokerage shared details of SunTrust's pending office move with GrowthSpotter on Thursday. 

Officials with SunTrust in Orlando did not respond to requests for comment. John Gilbert, managing director with JLL and lead leasing agent for SunTrust Center office space, declined to comment on the pending vacancy.

Austin Stahley, director of leasing in Orlando for Lincoln Property Co. which is developing the Church Street Plaza tower (formerly named Tremont Plaza), declined to comment Thursday on active negotiations for any unsigned tenants in the new project. 

The tower has been under construction since last fall, and should have the concrete for its second floor poured and complete by early next week, Stahley said. The project is on pace for completion and occupancy in mid-2019, he estimated. 

Of the roughly 215,000 square feet of office space planned for Church Street Plaza's first tower, the following tenants have confirmed leases: business consultancy RSM (28,500 square feet), co-working operator E|SPACES (28,500 SF), project architect HuntonBrady (20,000 SF), general contractor Austin Commercial (8,000 SF), and Lincoln Property's own local office (6,000 SF). 

With a tenant like SunTrust leasing 100,000 square feet or more, that would put Lincoln Property in the enviable position of having its building's office space more than 90 percent leased prior to completion. 

Other local banks have reduced their office space needs in recent years. In early 2017, Wells Fargo vacated more than 23,000 square feet of branch and office space at 20 N. Orange Ave. to open a smaller branch up the street, and transfer wealth management and operations staff to its other downtown office at 800 N. Magnolia Ave. 

Richard Solik, executive managing director for office services at Colliers International Central Florida, said Thursday the prospective vacancy will be a positive for recruiting new tenants to downtown Orlando.

"This is a great opportunity for Orlando to market to a corporate headquarters in downtown," he said. "We haven't had this much vacant space that I can remember in 20-plus years." 

Class-A office space in the downtown submarket was commanding more than $26 per square foot through the first quarter of this year with a 8.2 percent direct vacancy rate, according to the latest office market report by Cushman & Wakefield

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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