Hearst Tower, the future headquarters site of Truist Financial Corp. in uptown Charlotte, is losing its namesake tenant.

BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. said June 12 that the 46-story Charlotte skyscraper Hearst Tower will be the site for their proposed combined bank.

Hearst, a global media and information company, said Wednesday it will move into 77,141 square feet of space in an eight-story building in the Ballantyne area.

The banks said they would take 550,000 square feet in the 970,000-square-foot building at 214 N. Tryon St., which debuted in 2002. The goal is to have about 2,000 employees there.

Hearst has about 350 employees in the Charlotte area, according to The Charlotte Observer.

BB&T and SunTrust announced their $66 billion megadeal Feb. 7. BB&T shareholders would have a 57% stake in the combined bank.

While the combined bank’s headquarters would be placed in Charlotte, Winston-Salem gets the community banking division and Atlanta the wholesale banking division.

“This is a signature tower in the Uptown area of Charlotte and the perfect spot for the new company’s headquarters,” Kelly King, BB&T’s chairman and chief executive, said in a June 12 statement.

“This prime location will put our new company in the heart of the vibrant financial district and is the right backdrop for the bold, transformational financial institution we’re creating with this merger of equals.”

The space was constructed initially for Bank of America Corp., also based in Charlotte, to serve its bank’s investment banking and capital markets units.

“It has perhaps the largest, and most beautiful, trading floor of any institutional finance giant in the U.S. with floor-to-ceiling windows filling the floor with a sea of natural light,” said Tony Plath, retired finance professor at UNC Charlotte.

“It’s sufficiently new, luxurious and imposing to serve as a big-bank headquarters, and it’s got the right address for one of the top five commercial banks in America.”

Plath said there is the potential for the combined bank to exercise a $455 million option with Cousins Properties to buy the tower outright by the end of the year. BB&T spokesman David White said the banks are not discussing lease negotiations.

“We expect to have some teams ready to move in by our legal closing later in the year, but we don’t have a specific date yet,” White said.

The banks gained shareholder approval July 30, as well as regulatory approval from the N.C. Commissioner of the Banks on July 10.

The banks are projecting a late third-quarter or fourth-quarter closing. Analysts say pushback from some Democratic congressional leaders, such as presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, could delay approval into early 2020.

King plans to move to Charlotte, along with the members of BB&T’s executive-management team who will help form the combined bank’s entity.

William Rogers Jr., SunTrust’s chairman and chief executive, said the banks believe the Hearst Tower “would attract and inspire our teams as they come together to create industry-leading client experiences. ... This new headquarters environment will help foster collaboration and innovation.”

The new headquarters also will accommodate leadership teams for groups that include corporate communications, finance, human resources, insurance, legal, technology and risk management.

Charlotte also will be home to the proposed company’s Innovation and Technology Center.

rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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