BankAmerica Corp. is stepping up its search to relocate its big downtown L.A. vault, which has been deemed too close to the site of the proposed sports arena.

Just about every downtown-area property with underground storage potential is in the running, according to sources familiar with some of the sites BofA is considering.

The pressure to relocate has been building since the L.A. City Council approved a memorandum of understanding on May 23 with the proposed sports arena's developers, Edward P. Roski Jr. and Philip Anschutz.

If the arena deal goes forward, as expected, the developers have indicated they would like to acquire the BofA bank vault site and redevelop it into a retail center or parking facility.

Likewise, BofA has indicated that it wants to see the arena deal move forward and will work with city officials to forge a deal that is mutually beneficial.

"The bank is reviewing options and exploring a number of different scenarios and possible alternatives," said BofA spokesman Cary Walker, adding that the bank has yet to enter formal talks with the city about relocating its vault.

Still, several real estate sources said BofA has been quietly checking out the market for months now, putting together a list of potential vault sites if a move becomes necessary.

Among the obvious sites said to be under consideration is the former First Interstate vault at 1100 W. Seventh St., which was vacated last year after First Interstate was bought by Wells Fargo Bank. Other logical sites include the former First Interstate tower at 707 Wilshire Blvd., which includes an empty basement, and the empty bank vault in Rosemead formerly used by California Federal Bank.

BofA could also modify one of its own existing buildings to accommodate a new cash vault, such as its building at 333 Beaudry Ave. or its data center at the corner of Temple Street and Beaudry.

One site being considered, which has many real estate people scratching their heads, is space formerly occupied by a Bullock's department store in the struggling Seventh Market Place at the corner of Seventh and Figueroa streets.

That building was purchased last month by TrizecHahn Corp. of Canada, though TrizecHahn officials declined to discuss whether BofA has approached them about leasing any space there.

However, the chances of BofA ever ending up in the Bullock's space are highly unlikely, according to Mark Tarczynski, the leasing agent at CB Commercial Real Estate Group, who is in charge of leasing the Seventh Market Place.

"There's no way it's going to happen," Tarczynski said, declining to verify whether BofA has been in talks about leasing the space.

He pointed out that the shopping mall has space that has been slated for retail use only a designation that would have to be changed by the L.A. City Council for BofA to move in. He added that the Seventh Market Place does not possess the high-security capability that a BofA bank vault of that magnitude would require.

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