PNC Bank consolidating headquarters, investing in LEED-certified offices

PNC Bank's Louisville headquarters is located at Fifth and Market streets. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

PNC Bank’s Louisville headquarters is located at Fifth and Market streets. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

The PNC Financial Services Group is vacating PNC Plaza and renovating its National City Tower offices to bring its local executive team under one energy-efficient roof.

Since PNC acquired National City Bank Corp. at the end of 2008, PNC Louisville’s 600 corporate employees have been split between National City Tower, 101 S. Fifth St., and PNC Plaza, 500 W. Jefferson St.

“It’s like operating out of two different dug outs and two different locker rooms,” said Chuck Denny, PNC’s regional president in Kentucky and Tennessee. “As a leader, I always wished we had everybody together.”

For seven years, the offices were split because the company could not find room to move the 300 employees from PNC Plaza, Denny said. But changes in office design now are allowing PNC to fit all 600 employees in the 178,200 square feet of office space and seven floors it occupies in National City Tower, without needed additional square footage.

PNC will gradually move employees over to National City Tower after renovating its offices there. The goal is to have everyone in the renovated office space by Oct. 24.

The company’s departure will leave a 148,800-square-foot hole in PNC Plaza, which is currently 91 percent occupied.

“We are certainly actively looking for tenants,” said Ken Haskins, general manager of Optima Management Group, which owns PNC Plaza. “The building will remain viable.”

And even though Louisvillians will continue to call it PNC Plaza for decades to come, with PNC gone, the building could take a new name.

“That could very well have to do with new lease deals or renegotiation of some current lease deals,” Haskins said.

“A major investment in our city”

National City Tower was built in the early 1970s back when office layouts featured numerous private offices and collections of cubicles. PNC plans to turn its offices into a modern open space workplace, with plenty of windows allowing in natural light, meeting rooms with glass and dry-erase-board walls, a new fitness center and an air purifying system, among other changes.

“With that kind of space, we can have a lot more people sitting closer together,” Denny said. The layout creates “a very creative and innovative environment. … In the long run, productivity and engagement and teamwork all increase.”

He declined to disclose how much PNC will spend on the renovation and relocation project.

“It is going to be a major investment in our city,” Denny said.

The renovations also will help PNC cut down on its energy usage and create better air quality in the office, among other benefits, which the company hopes will add up to an approved LEED certification for the floors.

“We believe we own the most new LEED-certified buildings in the world,” Denny said, noting that own and new are the keywords in that statement. PNC owns more than 250 LEED-certified buildings.

As part of the redesign, the PNC Bank on the first floor of National City Tower will serve as a showcase for PNC’s “branch of the future,” Denny said.

The bank will be able to issue debit and credit cards on site rather than customers having to wait for them to arrive in the mail, which is still common practice. The ATMs will allow business customers to deposit stacks of checks without totaling them; computers in the lobby will allow customers to access their online banking information; and employees will greet customers on the floor of the bank to help them rather than having all of the tellers behind the counter.

At PNC, 65 percent of deposits are done without the aid of a bank teller, either through online and mobile applications or via ATMs.

“The way people bank is changing,” Denny said.