Rendering courtesy Hyundai
Hyundai's new headquarters, designed by Gensler, will seek LEED Gold status.

Looking at Hyundai Motor America, a division of Korea-based Hyundai Motor Co., it would be hard to tell there is a global economic crisis. Hyundai's U.S. car sales were up 20% in 2011 compared with 2010's sales. In total, Hyundai sold 645,691 cars this past year in the U.S. The company is tearing down its existing U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, Calif.—about 30 miles south of Los Angeles—and investing $150 million in a new one. Hyundai joins other major corporations—Google and Coca-Cola, for example—that are putting significant resources into their corporate homes.

Hyundai’s U.S. business has expanded significantly since it first moved into its current headquarters in 1990. “Since that time, we have simply outgrown our current building as our business in the U.S. market has continued to grow,” says a Hyundai spokesperson. Hyundai has grown to become the fifth-largest automobile company in the world.

The project employs a traditional design-bid-build delivery method. The architect for the new structure is Gensler, San Francisco. The contractor is a Hyundai affiliate company, Hyundai Amco America, Irvine, Calif., and the project is being managed by CresaPartners, Boston.

Once the current headquarters is demolished, it will be replaced with a gleaming new six-story building to expand the Hyundai headquarters to 419,000 sq ft—almost doubling the current square footage and making room for 1,400 employees, twice the current staff size. A one-story, 50,000-sq-ft technical services facility will connect to the main building. Further, the site will have a parking structure as well as a vehicle showroom, which will be visible from the 405 San Diego Freeway. Gensler’s design calls for a structural pedestal foundation with floating, translucent-glass floors above. Visitors will be greeted with a two-story entrance that leads to an open courtyard at the center of the building.

Hyundai is driving toward a LEED-certified Gold building. Speaking of the new headquarter's sustainable design, the Hyundai spokesperson says, “LEED-specific features of the building will include optimized energy usage, mitigation measures related to material reuse, storage and collection of recyclables, [and] construction waste management, among other elements. Hyundai will also be following LEED certification procedures and city guidelines regarding dust, dirt and air pollution mitigation during the demolition and construction processes, such as using water-truck spraying to lessen dust [and] recycling of existing building materials on-site for reuse.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in a few months with a targeted completion date in fall 2013. Hyudai claims the project will generate more than 1,500 construction jobs.