Bank of America slashes space at namesake building, plans to close banking center

UPDATED — Bank of America Center’s namesake tenant is significantly reducing its size at the building at Douglas and Broadway.

“That’s just one of the many they’re downsizing,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father’s Ruffin Properties.

“It’s kind of sad since they’ve been such a longtime tenant. They’re a great tenant.”

Bank of America building in downtown Wichita.  (Oct. 9, 2012.)The North Carolina-based bank has been cutting costs and eliminating thousands of jobs over the past few years.

Currently, Bank of America has 50,000 square feet at its downtown Wichita headquarters.

“They’re cutting down to about 12,000 square feet and giving … us back the second floor,” says Phil Ruffin, who owns the building. “That’s how far we’ve gotten so far.”

The bank’s lease expires Dec. 31.

“We have been reviewing all of our corporate real estate needs across the country over the last several years,” bank spokeswoman Diane Wagner said in an e-mail.

“We have identified some areas that will allow us to become more efficient and are working to reduce the space we have to fit the needs of our businesses. In Wichita, this means we are reducing our space in the 100 N. Broadway location . . . . We do plan to continue to have some offices in the building, but can’t share any further details at this time.”

Wagner does confirm, though, that Bank of America’s retail banking center will close.

“As it relates to our banking center, after careful consideration, we have chosen to close the banking center at 100 N. Broadway as we will consolidate and serve our banking center customers’ needs from our nearby Mid Towne Center facility at 411 S Topeka St.,” Wagner wrote. “This consolidation into our motor bank building will require significant investment in the facility and demonstrates our commitment in the downtown district for Wichita.”

“It’s beautiful space,” Phil Ruffin says. “There’s no space like it in Wichita, I can tell you that.”

Ruffin spent $5 million renovating part of the bank’s space on the third floor of the building following a 2007 fire.

“It is stunning,” Chris Ruffin says. “It looks like something you’d see in New York. It’s just first class all the way. It’s unreal.”

He says there are great finishes and great views.

Bank of America --  Bank of America building atDouglas and  Broadway.“The whole nine yards.”

Phil Ruffin says he hasn’t decided whether the building will retain the bank’s name.

“I’m not sure just yet what we’re going to do.”

The search for a new tenant or tenants hasn’t begun yet, but Chris Ruffin isn’t daunted.

“You have to look at these kinds of things as an opportunity,” he says.

“You never have a full building. You get the building full for six months, and then somebody leaves. It’s always something. That’s just the way it goes.”