Bank of America closes downtown branch, begins site work on Willow Lawn spot

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The Bank of America branch on the ground floor of 1111 E. Main St. is now closed. (BizSense file photo)

It’s one local branch shuttered and another soon to open for Bank of America.

The banking giant last week permanently closed its longtime downtown branch at 1111 E. Main St.

That’s on the ground floor of the office tower that bears its name: the Bank of America Center, though the bank’s logo remains atop the 24-story building and its other non-branch operations will continue onsite.

The Main Street branch officially closed May 7, according to state’s Bureau of Financial Institutions. The bank first announced the closure to customers last summer, citing trends of customers doing more of their banking online and through ATMs.

The bank said approximately 70 percent of the transactions at that location are done through the ATMs and 70 percent of the branch’s customers use the bank’s online services.

BofA’s existing through-the-wall ATM on the building’s East Cary Street side across from Starbucks also remains intact.

It’s unclear if any new tenant has been lined up to backfill the BofA branch. Colliers’ brokers Malcolm Randolph and Jimmy Martin, who handle leasing at the building, did not return calls Tuesday afternoon.

The branch’s closure comes as the Bank of America Center itself has faced scrutiny in recent months from the noteholders that own the debt tied to the building.

The $46 million loan on the property went into special servicing last September, before building owner District Bay Realty Advisors missed a mortgage payment in December. The D.C.-based landlord has since become current on the loan once again.

The building was placed into special servicing due to “imminent default,” according to commercial real estate tracking firm Trepp.

The loan on the property was rated as “underperform” in the Trepp report, “based on its status with the special servicer, an expected decline in collateral occupancy, and elevated lease rollover risk in the near term.”

District Bay bought the 500,000-square-foot tower for $42 million in 2016.

With the downtown location closed, BofA’s nearest remaining branches in the city are at 2601 W. Broad St. and 4101 W. Broad St. And another will open soon a few miles west.

Site work recently began at 5000 W. Broad St., where BofA is building a from-scratch location across from Willow Lawn shopping center on the site of a long-dormant Hardee’s restaurant.

The nearly 1.5-acre plot is currently owned by Miami-based Frontier Development, which bought the property for $2.05 million in the fall of 2020.

Plans were filed last year for a nearly 4,700-square-foot branch on the site with a drive-thru and 24 parking spaces.

BofA did not respond to a request for comment about the construction and completion timeline for the new branch.

The bank has at least one other new-construction branch in the works in the region. Last year a site plan was filed in Chesterfield County for a retail location at 12203 Hull Street Road, just east of Brandermill.

Plans showed a 4,600-square-foot branch with drive-thru that would rise on a 1.6-acre site at Hull’s intersection with Bridgewood Road and across from the Walmart and Home Depot-anchored Chesterfield Crossing shopping center.

The property is owned by local developer Rebkee, which has developed several surrounding properties for users such as BJ’s wholesale club and Valvoline Instant Oil Change.

POSTED IN Banking

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Steven Park
Steven Park
1 day ago

Two branches left in the city and that one at Malvern just barely. BOA has essentially abandoned Richmond.

Daniel Mendoza
Daniel Mendoza
23 hours ago
Reply to  Steven Park

But why are you guys closing

Jim Jacobs
Jim Jacobs
22 hours ago

It is inconceivable they would close the branch in the former headquarters building of F&M Bank/Sovran Bank. The optics of this are terrible, and I agree with Steven’s earlier abandonment comment. Tell the commercial clients about the “ATMs and online” services and watch them laugh at you.

Can you imagine Wells Fargo closing the branch in the former Central Fidelity headquarters across Cary Street? Of course not; there is still plenty of traffic every time I walk by there.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
20 hours ago
Reply to  Jim Jacobs

Well almost every big lender/bank doesn’t have a branch in their buildings downtown anymore. Wells Fargo is closed, Truist has closed several and is down to one Downtown (that seems smaller than i remember) with rumors it will close soon too. Between the lack of customers downtown because no one‘s ever down there during the business day on a consistent basis and the trend to online banking, it’s sad, but they don’t want to serve the poor people. Eventually will have a couple of small bank branches downtown, a large selection in the West End (at or west of Blvd)… Read more »

Jim Jacobs
Jim Jacobs
17 hours ago

The Wells Fargo branch in the first floor of James Center Two at 1021 E. Cary Street is still open. Former CFB headquarters building since 1987.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 hours ago
Reply to  Jim Jacobs

Yes it is and once there was a branch at 2nd and Grace. SunTrust had a branch on. I think it was 2nd and Main. heck, CapitalOne try to small branch downtown; turn to a group of ATMs and they’re now closed. Free Press had a good article in 2021 about the banking desert that is beginning to spread across Richmond.

Jim Jacobs
Jim Jacobs
35 seconds ago

The northwest corner of 2nd & Grace was the old Southern Bank headquarters for Richmond which then became Jefferson National Bank. After acquirer Wachovia tore down the building itself, they built a free standing retail branch. To your point, Wells Fargo shut it down last year. I will search for the Free Press article. While I will likely agree with their premise that there is a downtown branch banking desert, I’m sure I will disagree with their reasoning that it must be a racist move by capitalistic banks—-just like you don’t have payday loan offices in the Libbie/Grove area, you… Read more »

Tom Gates
Tom Gates
2 hours ago

BOA had a perfectly good location on Willow Lawn Drive but closed it. Now they are building a new branch 500 yards away on a busy intersection. Only one reason for it; Chase Bank built a branch across the street two years ago. After taking Richmond for granted for so many years, Chase is beginning to make them pay. And they deserve it. Worst organization I have ever worked for, to include the 1970’s US Army.