Belk to sublease Charlotte HQ as employees transition to hybrid work

Belk to sublease Charlotte HQ as employees transition to hybrid work
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Belk is putting its headquarters on Tyvola Road up for full or partial sublease, Costar first reported. The company is considering other options for its corporate employees, including having them work in offices within its stores.

Like millions of other office employers, Belk has had its corporate staffers work remotely during the pandemic. Belk’s employees “overwhelmingly support” the flexibility afforded by remote work, company spokesperson Jessica Rohlik tells me.

“We are exploring options to use excess space in our local stores for meeting rooms and offices. This shift will allow our associates to work more closely with our product assortments and customers, and we are excited for the opportunities it creates,” Rohlik says.

The big picture: Belk is the latest big local employer to reevaluate its physical office presence during the pandemic.

  • Atrium Health is considering trimming its office footprint across the Charlotte metro by 10% over the next year, I reported in March. The move could save the hospital system $10 million over time.
  • Grant Thornton is moving into a new space at Vantage South End later this year, CBJ reported. The firm’s new location is 44% smaller than its current spot Uptown, where it’s been for three decades.

Furthermore, trimming expensive real estate (or subleasing it) is a way to cut costs. That’s especially necessary in an industry like department store retailing, which has suffered as mall foot traffic dried up.

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It’s unclear how many corporate employees Belk has in Charlotte. Rohlik did not respond to additional questions.

  • Miami real estate investor Samuel Jacobson owns the Belk property at 2801 W. Tyvola, county property records show.

Flashback: In early 2016, Belk signed a 15-year lease for its corporate headquarters, I reported for the Observer. At the time, the company relocated some of its corporate employees from one of its buildings on Tyvola into a consolidated 475,000-square-foot property it already partially occupied across the street.

  • That corporate HQ move came months after Belk sold itself to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm.
  • Earlier this year, Belk filed for bankruptcy. Last month, Nir Patel took over as CEO, replacing Lisa Harper, who’d led the company since 2016.

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