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In The Pipeline: CoStar Development & Construction News for Feb. 24 - March 2

News and Notes on Trends, New Projects and Construction In the Commercial Real Estate Development Pipeline Around the U.S.
February 25, 2013
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.

National Instruments to Expand R&D In Austin

National Instruments, a designer and manufacturer of electronic measurement software and hardware, will expand its research and development capacity in Austin with an $80 million capital investment, creating 1,000 technical and engineering jobs.

The expansion will require the hiring of additional engineers and technology specialists and will include developing a 300,000-square-foot facility located next to the company's current site in North Austin.

The state of Texas is providing $4.4 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to close the deal, contingent upon finalization of a local incentive package slated to be considered by Travis County early next month. The expansion of National Instruments, which has operations throughout the U.S., Canada and 45 other countries, further bolsters Austin’s status as a high-tech hub, Gov. Rick Perry said.

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BHP Billiton Announces New Headquarters Tower

BHP Billiton Petroleum, which has seen its U.S. shale business skyrocket in recent years, announced it is building a 30-story tower at 1500 Post Oak Boulevard in Houston to house its global headquarters.

Chief Executive Officer J. Michael Yeager expects "vigorous growth to continue for the foreseeable future" and said the firm has designed the new facility "to attract the talent we need to expand our business into one of the world’s largest oil and gas independents."

Architectural firm Pickard Chilton designed the 560,000-square-foot building.

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Procter & Gamble To Expand In Greensboro, Add 200 Jobs

After considering other sites in North and South Carolina, Procter & Gamble Co. has picked Greensboro for a $100 million plant expansion, where it will increase production of its Olay skin care products line.

Guilford County and the City of Greensboro previously agreed to provide about $2 million in incentives to P&G for the expansion of the manufacturing and distribution plant at 6200 Bryan Park Road. The added capacity will most likely involve property already owned by the Cincinnati-based household products giant at the Browns Summit.

The company will add 200 jobs over three years at an average salary of $52,000, which is 24% higher than the Guilford county average of $42,000, the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance.

Spec Office Project Begins In Sunnyvale

Des Moines-based Principal Real Estate Investors broke ground on a 107,000-square-foot speculative office building at Sunnyvale Business Park last week in Sunnyvale, CA.

Construction of the three-story building will take roughly seven months to reach shell completion, according to Principal Real Estate, one of the largest institutional real estate managers in the U.S.

The property will become the 10th building in the 520,000-square-foot Sunnyvale Business Park located at Mathilda and Evelyn Avenues, within a block of the Sunnyvale Caltrain station and downtown Sunnyvale amenities.

Computing Firm Nvidia Plans Large Santa Clara Campus

Computer graphics firm Nvidea will build a futuristically designed new campus across the street from its current Santa Clara, CA headquarters at 2701 San Tomas Expressway.

"The new NVIDIA building will capture the ambition and imagination of our people. It will stand at the intersection of science and art, just as our work in visual computing does," the company said.

The company "barely has a spare desk" in its current quarters. Meanwhile, the company that started with three employees 20 years ago now has 8,000 workers spread over 40 locations, according to an entry on the company's blog.

Along the way, Nvidea has invented the GPU, revolutionized gaming, pioneered motion picture special effects and powered the world’s fastest supercomputer as well as processors that power life-saving CT scanners, weather simulations for TV stations, the latest generation of cars, and even helped navigate a rover on Mars.

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EB-5 Office Development Goes Vertical In Broward Co.

Riviera Point Holdings, LLC has launched ground-up construction of a $17 million project to build a multi-tenant office building funded through the federal government's EB-5 immigrant visa program to lure foreign investment to the U.S.

The 70,000-square-foot Professional Center at Riviera Point on a four-acre site at University Drive and the Florida Turnpike in Miramar, FL, will be the market’s first new high-quality office development since 2009. It will also be Broward County’s first multi-tenant office development to be funded through the Immigrant Investor Program, which allows foreign nationals to obtain a so-called EB-5 visa in exchange for investing in U.S. real estate development and other job-creating ventures.

General contractor Itasca Construction Associates is on track to complete the first of the center's two four-story buildings this fall. "It’s an ideal time in the market cycle for a complex geared to attract hundreds of new jobs, while creating real value for prospective tenants and our investors," said Riviera Point CEO Rodrigo Azpurua.

With construction starting when other local projects are still on the boards, Riviera Point has a crucial advantage, said Jon Blunk, senior director for Cushman & Wakefield.

"We’re seeing interest from regional sales offices, call centers and educational institutions looking to relocate or expand into fresh space before Broward’s rental rates strengthen," Blunk said.

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