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ExxonMobil to Build Huge Office Complex In North Houston

Construction of New Office Campus In Houston Suburbs Likely to Result in Higher Vacancies In Other Submarkets Where Energy Giant Occupies Space
June 8, 2011
ExxonMobil finally unveiled plans to build a new office campus on 385 acres it owns near the intersection of Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll Road north of Houston to bring together its sprawling operations.

The oil and gas giant did not disclose the exact scale in square footage or cost of the project, but said it will include “multiple low-rise office buildings,” a laboratory, conference and training space, child care, wellness center and other facilities.

The move is expected to affect approximately 8,000 employees, who will be moved in phases as the buildings are constructed beginning early 2014. Full occupancy for Houston-based employees is expected by 2015. The company expects most employees working in the corporation’s Houston Upstream head office, along with ExxonMobil Chemical Co. and various staff support, to move to the new campus.

The ExxonMobil announcement is among a series of corporate headquarters relocations and expansions announced over the last few weeks. This week, Cupertino, CA-based Apple, Inc. CEO Steve Jobs made a rare public appearance on June 7 before the Cupertino City Council to announce that Apple would be moving ahead with a massive “spaceship”-type design headquarters in the city.

Last month, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. announced it plans to build a 40-story, $400 million headquarters building dubbed The Tower at PNC Plaza on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street in Pittsburgh, PA;
American Greetings Corp. unveiled plans to move its headquarters from Brooklyn, OH, to a 700,000-square-foot build to suit on 13 acres at Crocker Park in Westlake, OH; and Porsche Cars North America will build a new $100 million headquarters in the Aerotropolis, a redevelopment of the former Ford Motor Co. assembly plant south of Atlanta.

In a memo to employees announcing the ExxonMobil development, Global Services President Bryan Milton said the company is "continuing to study whether any other U.S. office locations will ultimately be located in the complex."

The statement prompted speculation that ExxonMobil might close or scale back other facilities around the country, including offices in Fairfax, VA, employing 2,600 workers. ExxonMobil employs more than 83,000 people globally.

International architectural firm Pickard Chilton planned and designed the new office campus, where construction and ongoing operations are expected to create thousands of jobs and generate substantial state and local taxes and other economic benefits for Texas and the Houston-area economy.

Trey Halberdier, managing principal with Bandier Realty Partners, said the economic benefits from the project with reverberate through most of north Harris and Montgomery counties. However, the project will cause a significant realignment of office space in the Houston market, as the firm moves out of the extensive space it occupies in Greenspoint and downtown.

"But as we all know, Houston is resilient and will bring more jobs," Halberdier said.
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