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Wells Fargo signs lease to create new regional headquarters in Boston

Wells Fargo & Co. officials say the bank is preparing to create a new regional headquarters in Boston’s Financial District.

The San Francisco-based financial company — one of the largest banks in the country — last week signed a lease for about 150,000 square feet spread among five floors at 125 High St., Wells officials said.

Greg O’Brien, who oversees Wells’ commercial banking operations in the region, said the move would unify several disparate operations such as commercial lending and wealth management and bring 775 local employees together under one roof. O’Brien said he expects renovations will begin soon, with a goal of starting the move late next year. The move will take place in several shifts that could continue through 2020, according to a Wells spokeswoman.

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O’Brien’s group, based at 101 Federal St., would be among the first to move. The new office, he said, would be the first time Wells Fargo has exterior signage at a Boston building.

“It’s amazing how productive you could become ... when you’re all located in the same building,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to be able to take 10 lines of business across seven locations in the city and over a multiple-year process move everybody into the same location.”

O’Brien said Wells also is embarking on an effort to open three regional offices to add more business clients to the bank’s roster. The regional offices would open in either Springfield or Worcester, as well as Providence, and in either Manchester, N.H., or Portland, Maine. O’Brien said it’s possible that one or two satellite offices may be opened in the cities that don’t get regional hubs. About 20 or so employees would be hired to staff these regional offices, O’Brien said.

While Wells Fargo employs more than 1,400 in five New England states excluding Connecticut, it has no retail branches in the region and no current plans to open any. (Wells does have a retail presence in Connecticut, through its acquisition of Wachovia.)

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The Boston lease is another big victory for Tishman Speyer, the landlord at 125 High, following the news that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt would leave its longtime home in the Back Bay by early 2017 to occupy 162,000 square feet in the tower. Both deals will likely count among the biggest office lease signings in the city this year.


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.