Wells Fargo cutting 80 jobs in Denver

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Sunrise hits the downtown Denver skyline in cold weather with a blanket of snow, and reflects off the Wells Fargo Center, also known locally at the Cash Register Building, Oct. 30, 2023.

Wells Fargo is cutting 80 jobs at its Denver office building, an icon of the city’s skyline.

The banking giant is making the move because it’s shutting down its internal audit business at 1700 Lincoln Street, better known to locals as the Cash Register Building. The layoffs will start in August, according to a letter to the state submitted under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Some of the employees will be able to relocate or apply for other jobs within the company.

Companies are cutting office space as more work is done remotely. Nearly one-quarter of Denver’s office space is sitting empty, according to real estate services firm CBRE. The lack of office workers is hurting businesses downtown that rely on foot traffic.

The central business district has taken on a forlorn vibe, especially with the ongoing construction on the 16th Street Mall. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced a plan last month that could invest as much as $500 million into reviving the area, including money for converting old office buildings into housing.

It’s an intuitive solution to the glut of vacant office space given the city’s lack of affordable housing. However, those kinds of projects are expensive and difficult to pull off without incentives from the public sector.

In the meantime, office landlords are struggling to pay off their mortgages as rent payments dry up. The owner of the Cash Register Building already defaulted on its loan. The property is being managed by a receiver until a new owner is found.