A state agency has signed on to take over four floors in a downtown office tower.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has leased 82,000 square feet in the Bank of America Center at 1111 E. Main St., confirmed Dena Potter spokeswoman for the state’s Department of General Services.
The agency is set to move all its 332 employees from its central administration office at 629 E. Main St. into the 14th, 15th, 17th and 22nd floors of the 24-story BofA building by January 2018, Potter said.
Malcolm Randolph, a CBRE | Richmond broker, worked the deal, which includes a 124-month lease, Potter said.
The DEQ in late 2015 began testing the waters for a potential headquarters move by issuing a request for proposals for downtown office space. Potter said the RFP fetched interest from several well-known office towers that, in addition to the BofA building, include: One James Center at 901 E. Cary St., Three James Center at 1051 E. Cary St., the Mutual Building at 909 E. Main St., and the Wytestone Plaza building at 801-813 E. Main St.
DEQ is vacating the 125,000-square-foot, 12-story building owned by Washington, D.C.-based Douglas Development. The agency, for a time, had been the building’s only tenant.
Potter said Douglas Development also submitted a proposal to keep DEQ in the building.
However, Potter said the agency settled on the Bank of America building because it gave DEQ the ability to pair divisions together and maximize efficiencies needed to operate the agency.
Randolph and fellow CBRE broker Scott Durham represented District Bay Realty Partners and developer Joe Ersek, the group that purchased the 508,000-square-foot building for $42 million in February 2016.
Randolph said the new owners have invested millions into the property and are planning interior and exterior renovations that include updates to the courtyard and entrance lobby.
With DEQ as a new tenant, Randolph said the building is 88 percent leased, and has 54,000 square feet available, of which 16,000 square feet is contiguous.
Randolph said activity was bolstered by several leases that have closed in the last two months, including the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association and Haneberg Hurlbert PLC, which leased about 2,400 square feet and 3,400 square feet, respectively.
The Virginia Bar Association also is preparing to move into the Bank of America tower, where it will take up to 10,000 square feet, Randolph said.
Elsewhere downtown, Envera Health, which offers scheduling, referral and other services to health systems, is preparing to move into 27,000 square feet of office space in the Riverside on the James building at 1001-1101 Haxall Point.
“The downtown market was the softest primary market in metro Richmond,” said Andrew Cook, CBRE’s director of research. “That’s all starting to change as there seems to be a convergence with suburban and downtown rates … as the office market tightens.”