Diverse Projects Fill Out Regions Top Starts of 2013
Work has been plentiful in Louisiana and Texas over the past year, with a slew of massive projects starting up in each state, ranging from energy, transportation and infrastructure to mixed-use and retail. ENR Texas & Louisiana's Top Starts list shows the cost of the top 25 projects that broke ground in 2013 in the region totaled $12.49 billion, a decline of $710 million compared with last year. But more energy projects are on the way in both states, as work remains strong in the Gulf Coast region.
At the top of this year's list is the $1.5-billion City Line project in Richardson, Texas, owned by KDC and being built by Austin Commercial. This is the largest mixed-use project now under development in Texas, and one of two mixed-use projects on this year's list. State Farm is leasing 1.5 million sq ft in three office towers, now under construction.
"We think it's a transformational occurrence right now, where forward-thinking companies are really trying to create the best environment possible for their employees, and they're trying to attract and retain," says Toby Grove, KDC president. "We thought this parcel was large enough to give us the scale to do a large mixed-use, integrated project. The infrastructure that's in place with the DART rail station being there as well as the intersection of two major freeways makes it one of the best locations in Texas for this type of development."
The office buildings, which are part of the $600-million, 2.3-million-sq-ft initial phase of the project, are expected to be completed in 2015.
"On a single-phase project, this is the largest project that we've been involved in," Grove adds. "It's impacting all of North Texas in an incredibly positive way."
Massive projects of this type used to be relatively rare, but that's changing. "Twenty years ago, a 300,000-sq-ft project was a really large project. Today, we're seeing several transactions or potential transactions that are in excess of a million square feet," Grove says.
"It's just a concentration, and I think that we continue to see corporate America looking for more integrated facilities with amenities tied into those developments, and we're going to continue to see a lot of that going into the future," he adds.
Roadways and Industrial Work
Expansive growth across Texas has spurred development of all kinds, including a need for more infrastructure to carry folks from one side of the state to the other. Three projects within the top 10 are owned by the Texas Dept. of Transportation, as the agency continues to mend the state's ailing transportation infrastructure.