The Union Leader is reporting that Bank of America will be leaving its office space and closing its branch in the pink granite building at 1155 Elm Street at the corner of Bridge.  The eight-story building, which was built in the 1980s, is not necessarily the most attractive structure in the city, but it does represent a large portion of office space in a single place.

It also features about 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and in something many other era-buildings don’t feature, the retail actually has plenty of glass facing both Bridge and Elm.  The building’s shape creates a small plaza, which makes its considerably more attractive neighboring building more prominent.  It would be good to see something more interesting than a bank branch go into that ground-floor space–maybe an actual retailer or a new restaurant.

Bank of America moving operations out of 1155 Elm St.

By MICHAEL COUSINEAU

MANCHESTER — Bank of America said it will close its bank branch at 1155 Elm St. early next year as it moves office operations into smaller space at 900 Elm St.

Customers will be able to use an existing branch at 620 Elm St., or an ATM to be installed in the lobby of 900 Elm St., according to company spokesman T.J. Crawford.

He said there will be no job losses associated with the move.

“Our goal was to find a cost-effective real-estate solution that allows us to maintain our strong downtown presence,” Crawford said in an e-mail. “City officials have been briefed on our plans, and during those discussions we reaffirmed our commitment to downtown Manchester.”

Jay Minkarah, director of the Manchester Economic Development Office, said the move was “a mixed bag” for the city.

“Of course, office vacancy rates are high and adding additional vacant Class A office space to the market does present a challenge,” he said. “On the flip side of that, the fact it is a larger block of contiguous space, it does open up another opportunity for a larger firm to occupy that space.”

The bank currently leases about 53,000 square feet spread out over four floors at 1155 Elm St. A large part of the 16,000-square-foot, ground-floor branch and the entire 10,100 square feet on the sixth floor are unused, Crawford said.

Bank staff currently working at 1155 Elm include those in Global Commercial Banking, Global Wealth and Investment Management and Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs.

The majority of the bank’s home-loan staff moved to Bedford Farms in Bedford following the 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. Other wealth mangement operations, once on the sixth floor of 1155 Elm St., were moved to 900 Elm St. following the 2008 Merrill Lynch acquisition.

The new lease at 900 Elm St. calls for leasing 14,000 square feet while the existing lease for Merrill Lynch is for about 9,000 square feet.

Thomas Farrelly, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in Manchester, said “discussions are on-going” with potential tenants and his firm, which is the leasing agent.

Farrelly said the building “is one of the trophy assets in New Hampshire.” He said there aren’t many buildings with large blocks of available space.

Numerica Financial Corp. constructed the building in 1984. “Every major anchor tenant that’s occupied that space ends up with the identity of the building,” he said.

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