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In The Pipeline: CoStar Development & Construction News for Oct. 28 - Nov. 3

News and Notes on Trends, New Projects and Construction In the Commercial Real Estate Development Pipeline Around the U.S.
October 30, 2012
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.

First Hudson Yards Tower Slated to Rise In November

Related Companies plans to break ground in November on the first tower at Hudson Yards, the largest private development since the economic downturn.

The company has secured financial backing from a group of investors and Bank of America tentatively committed to financing a $400 million loan and a Middle East wealth fund has agreed to invest in the 46-story building to start the $6 billion project, according to the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.

Hudson Yards, now a rail hub for commuter trains serving Long Island, would be transformed into a business and residential district a mile under the plan which has been on the planning books since the 1980s.

After the first office tower, the plan calls for constructing two giant platforms over the yards. The two platforms, $800 million each, would support buildings on top to maximize precious Manhattan space.

Ameristar Unveils Plans For Springfield Casino Resort

Ameristar Casinos, Inc., one of three operators that qualified last week to submit formal proposals for a casino resort in western Massachusetts, has announced details of a $910 billion project on 40 acres near downtown Springfield.

The Ameristar Springfield site at I-291 and Page Boulevard is ready for immediate construction of a casino resort that includes a 150,000-square-foot casino with 3,300 slot machines and 110 table games, including a poker room. Las Vegas-based Ameristar bought the land in January for $16 million.

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Two other gaming operators, MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming, have also proposed casinos in Springfield in pursuit of what is expected to be only one casino license issued for western Massachusetts. In a memo to Mayor Domenic Sarno on Friday, the city's chief development officer gave the green light for all three projects to proceed to the second phase of the selection process.

A fourth operator, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, has proposed a casino for Palmer, east of Springfield.

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Atlanta Developer Proposes Outlet Center Near Savannah

Atlanta-based developer Ben Carter Enterprises has proposed an outlet shopping center with more than 560,000 square feet of stores and restaurants at the southwest quadrant of I-95 and Pooler Parkway in Pooler, GA.

The Outlet Mall of Georgia is shooting for a projected opening in spring 2014 with four anchor stores, food court, restaurants and a wide variety of shops. The project could accommodate another 500,000 square feet of retail and hotel space.

Pooler is located in the Savannah area, the third-largest city in Georgia behind Atlanta and Augusta. Savannah’s 12 million annual visitors is second only to Myrtle Beach, SC at 14 million, on the Southern coast. Charleston, SC has 4 million annual visitors, St. Augustine, FL, 3.4 million and Hilton Head, SC, 2 million.

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Bixby Acquires Silicon Valley Office Campus

In another Silicon Valley value-add play, Bixby Land Co. has purchased the four-building, 234,123-square-foot Trimble Technology Park in San Jose, CA, from Rockpoint Group LLC for $29.5 million.

Irvine, CA-base Bixby, which acquired the property in a venture with Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors on behalf of one of its institutional clients, plans a $23 million repositioning and rebranding of the office buildings at 375, 397, 399 and 441 W. Trimble Road in San Jose's Golden Triangle submarket.

The company will add 16,000 square feet of two-story office space to the project on about 15 acres at the northwest corner of Trimble Road and Orchard Parkway, increasing the size of the project to just over 250,000 square feet.

The project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013 and be completed by year-end. It includes a major exterior reconstruction and re-landscaping, expansion and upgrade of building lobbies, glass, mechanical systems, with new roofs and renovated interior courtyards.

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New Apt. Projects Push Work for Architects to Two-Year High

Billings at architecture firms, a leading indicator of future commercial construction activity, rose in September at their fastest clip since August 2010.

According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the September Architectural Billings Index rose 1.4 points to 51.6. The ABI Index predicts hard construction spending that will occur nine to 12 months ahead.

Any index number above 50 indicates an increase in billings. A separate index tracking new projects was 57.3 in September, compared to a mark of 57.2 the previous month.

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