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Wells Fargo moving Downtown Orlando branch, vacating 23K SF of tower space

Wells Fargo moving Downtown Orlando branch, vacating 23K SF of tower space
This image of the former Fiat building at 131 N. Orange Ave. has been altered by the applicant to show the proposed Wells Fargo bank signage on it. (City of Orlando)

Wells Fargo is preparing to lease 3,600 square feet of the former Fields Fiat-anchored building at 131 N. Orange Ave., relocating one of its two Downtown Orlando retail branches.

The move should occur in Second Quarter 2017, and will wrap up a notable reduction of the company's footprint in the Central Business District.

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Wells Fargo is in the process of vacating 23,627 square feet of branch and office space on the ground floor of 20 N. Orange Ave., known as 20 North Orange (or the Wells Fargo Tower), where its lease terminates in March 2017.

Wealth management and operations staff for Wells Fargo have already started to transfer from 20 N. Orange Ave. to the bank's other downtown office space, at 800 N. Magnolia Ave. (One Orlando Centre).

With 3,600 square feet at the new branch on the corner of N. Orange and Jefferson Street, this will be a downsizing from the 10,143 square feet dedicated to Wells Fargo's retail space at 20 N. Orange.

The former Fields Fiat-anchored building was bought in May 2015 for $3.075 million by 131 Downtown LLC, an affiliate of Seattle-based real estate investment group Red Bell Partners.

With about 15,500 square feet of leasable space across six tenant spaces in the building, five have been leased or reserved for Wells Fargo, a pizzaria and brewery that is currently changing its name (3,400 SF), Annie's Cafe (3,600 SF), Hubbly Bubbly (1,500 SF) and Insomnia Cookies (1,000 SF). The building still has 2,100 square feet on Orange Avenue marketed for lease.

Wells Fargo applied in mid-October to Orlando's Appearance Review Board with its renovation plans, which should be heard at the Dec. 15 meeting.

The building's red exterior will remain, with minor modifications proposed to the store front to install new ATMs and a night drop.

Illuminated art canvasses will be installed on interior walls in the building's glass tower feature. The Wells Fargo signage will be located over entrance doors on Orange Avenue.

Nick Jones, a managing member of Red Bell Partners and 131 Downtown, said Thursday he's excited to have Wells Fargo join the tenant lineup.

"They're a great tenant that compliments the rest of the mix," he said. "I think with this lineup this area of Orange Avenue will be activated, and will extend the vibrance of Orange Avenue one block north."

Wells Fargo officials did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Winter Park-based Architectural Design Collaborative is the project's architect.

Back at 20 North Orange, the 23,627 square feet being vacated gives building owner Steelbridge Capital a chance to reimagine the entirety of the ground floor, said Austin Johnson, leasing associate for Cushman & Wakefield.

Johnson's marketing of the building can now explore one or two restaurants for the 9,275 square feet fronting Orange Avenue. That space could have its tinted windows exchange for clear glass, with entry doors and exterior signage installed for retail tenants, Johnson said.

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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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