Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) will build a 39-story office tower to house about 3,600 employees directly across South Tryon Street from its Duke Energy Center headquarters.

Duke will be the only corporate tenant in the 1 million-square-foot building.

A Duke spokesman says the company does not yet have a final cost estimate for construction, as some details of the tower are still being worked out.

There will be 25,000 square feet of retail space available on the ground floor and a seven-level, above-ground parking garage on the same site.

It will be developed by Childress Klein and take about three years to complete, putting completion in 2022. Duke plans to find a buyer for the building and lease it back.

The new building will allow Duke to consolidate almost all of the company’s roughly 6,000 Charlotte employees there and at its headquarters. Duke will put on the market its 401 S. College St. building — on the same block as the Charlotte Convention Center — and its old headquarters at 526 S. Church St.

It will also exit its lease of several floors at 400 S. Tryon St.

“These actions will allow us to operate our business more efficiently, enhance employee productivity and better serve our customers and communities,” says Melissa Anderson, Duke’s chief human resources officer. “It will also free up premium real estate in uptown Charlotte — currently in high demand — for other purposes.”

The South College Street site has long been identified as a prime spot for a new convention hotel in uptown. Duke spokesman Neil Nissan says the company has not had any discussions as of yet about the possible property sales.

“We have just made the announcement that we are selling the property,” he says. “We would expect to start having those conversations starting now.”

The Charlotte Business Journal reported last summer that Duke had plans for a new tower uptown, shortly after Duke bought the surface parking lot between St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Harvey B. Gantt Center, where the new tower will be built. Duke paid $27.5 million for that roughly 2.1-acre site.

“We’re excited to be on the team and it’s going to be a great project for Duke’s employees and the city of Charlotte,” said Tom Coyle, office division partner at Childress Klein, when reached Friday. Coyle declined to comment further, referring all questions to Duke Energy.

Not all of Duke’s Charlotte employees will be in the two facing buildings. About 400 Duke employees will be housed at Optimist Hall in NoDa, and roughly 100 employees of Duke Energy Renewables will continues to work in the NASCAR Plaza.

The company’s headquarters will remain in the Duke Energy Center, which currently houses about 1,500 people. Duke has 1,800 employees at 400 South Tryon, 1,700 in the Church Street building and 500 at College Street.

Duke expects to have renderings for the new building completed by March. Duke expects to move people in sometime in 2022.

Nissan says it is possible that some of the space Duke sells could be vacated before the new building is completed. But he says there have been no discussions of that to date.

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