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In The Pipeline: CoStar Development & Construction News for Dec. 29 - Jan. 4, 2014

News, Notes and Comments on New Projects, Trends and Construction In the Commercial Real Estate Development and Planning Pipeline Around the U.S.
December 31, 2013

USAA Affiliate Buys Silicon Valley Office Development

USAA Real Estate has acquired America Center, a 430,852-square-foot office campus, along with entitled land for two more office buildings in San Jose, CA, one of the hottest office construction markets in the country over the last year.

At build out, the center will consist of four buildings totaling over 850,000 square feet. The first phase of the center, completed in 2009, includes a pair of six-story buildings that are 83% leased and serve as headquarters for the Polycom and Flextronics technology companies.

In The Pipeline is a column on significant acquisitions of commercial land for sale, and other transactions and trends affecting office, industrial, flex, multifamily, mixed-use, hotel and public works developers. Send us news leads about your new commercial real estate project -- and sign up to be added to our distribution list to receive future In the Pipeline columns by e-mail.

The second phase, acquired by San Antonio-based USAA in a joint venture with original America Center developer Legacy Partners, calls for two 213,800-square-foot, six-story office buildings. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed but market buzz puts the price tag at north of $210 million. Legacy will be USAA's development partner.

The Silicon Valley, driven by tech-industry employment growth and demand for large blocks of space, is seeing a strong uptick in office sector development. The market was among the nation's leaders in year-over-year occupancy gains, net absorption and construction starts in third-quarter 2013, according to CoStar data.

"One of our key objectives is to invest in high growth technology markets by acquiring and developing high-quality properties," noted USAA Real Estate Co. CEO Len O'Donnell.

Coachella, CA Approves $1B Master Plan

The city council in Coachella, CA, has approved La Entrada, a 2,200-acre development slated for 1.5 million square feet of retail and other commercial uses, 7,800 homes, four schools and nearly 900 acres of parks, sports fields and open space.

Investment in the project along the eastern foothills of the Coachella Valley about 28 miles east of Palm Springs will be more than $1 billion at build out, which developers estimate will unfold over the next 20 years.

KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning is designing and master planning the community, which will be owned by PSAV, LCC, and managed by Las Vegas-based New West Development. The development isn’t scheduled to break ground for another two to three years.

"La Entrada will become the new gateway into the city of Coachella," said KTGY Principal Ken Ryan.

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Holland Partners Buys Redevelopment Site near Downtown Seattle

Blackstone Group LP subsidiary Equity Office Properties has sold Westlake Steps, a mixed-use redevelopment site near downtown Seattle, to Vancouver, WA-based developer Holland Partners.

The sale for a reported $80 million includes 5.5 acres of land on the Lake Union waterfront and three existing buildings totaling 102,215 square feet, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets, which announced the sale. Managing directors Stuart Williams, Ann Chamberlin, Lori Hill and David Young and senior vice presidents Corey Marx and Seth Heikkila led the JLL team.

The zoning for Westlake Steps allows residential, office/life sciences, retail and hotel uses. Amazon, Microsoft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Nordstrom, and Tommy Bahama are among the major firms leasing office space in the area.

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CA Developer Offers Land For New FBI Headquarters

In a bid to bring construction of the new FBI headquarters to Prince William County, VA, SunCal Cos. and the county have submitted a proposal to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to contribute a 49.5-acre parcel in the Potomac Shores for the coveted new campus at no cost.

The GSA on Nov. 15 released a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) to develop a new FBI headquarters. Several jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia and Washington, D.C. have submitted responses.

The relocation of the FBI headquarters to a yet undetermined location in the D.C. metro area has become highly competitive in recent weeks, with a new emphasis on transit accessibility. Although transit is important and fits into the Potomac Shores location, California-based SunCal believes that other factors should also be considered such as the availability of a live/work environment and proximity to other important FBI facilities.

"We understand that this is a long process with many moving parts, but few proposed locations offer the convenience, transit accessibility and amenities as Potomac Shores," said David Soyka, SunCal senior vice president, public affairs. "Not only is our proposed location less than 10 minutes from the FBI training facilities at Marine Corps Base Quantico and its existing VRE commuter rail station, but the new FBI headquarters would also be serviced by its own planned VRE station at Potomac Shores."

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Greystone Closes On Coral Gables Multifamily Site

Greystone has acquired a site near the Miracle Mile section of downtown Coral Gables, where it will begin construction early next year of a 13-story, 119-unit multifamily project with street retail.

"The Mile" project at 3622 S.W. Coral Way, a joint venture with Miami-based Alta Developers and Strategic Properties, is Greystone’s first foray into Miami multifamily development.

Terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed, but the property will have a projected value of more than $40 million upon completion, the venture said in a release.

The Coral Gables market is very promising for multifamily given the rising demand for housing within walking distance of shopping, restaurants and other activities, said Jeff Simpson, CEO of Greystone Property Development.

The property will feature a swimming pool, secure garage, fitness center, concierge and other features. The venture has retained local architectural firm Behar Font & Partners for the project.

Follow Randyl Drummer on Twitter for CRE news updates.
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