Industries Commercial Real Estate

New 15-story office tower coming to downtown Richmond

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Clayco, a national developer based in Chicago that recently completed Amazon’s massive new distribution center in Dinwiddie County, is making another big splash in Virginia with an announcement Wednesday that it will build Gateway Plaza, a 15-story office building in downtown Richmond. McGuireWoods LLP and McGuireWoods Consulting LLC will be anchor tenants in the building.
“We believe that Gateway Plaza will be an attractive and successful addition to downtown Richmond. It will set a new standard for office buildings in Central Virginia and demonstrates a commitment to the city’s economic growth and vitality,” Bob Clark, Clayco’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
“It also represents the continuation of our involvement in Virginia projects, including the recently completed 1.1 million square-foot distribution center for in Dinwiddie County.”

Gateway Plaza will be in the heart of Richmond’s business district on property bounded by Eighth and Ninth streets on the east and west, and Canal Street on the south.
Dominion Resources Inc. owns the land and currently uses it for employee parking. Clayco has the property under contract.  Initial plans call for 261,000 square feet of office space, more than 10,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and 520 parking spaces. Clayco said it is studying the feasibility of expanding the project by up to six floors.

Gateway Plaza will offer a modern, technologically advanced design. When completed, the building is expected to receive Gold certification based on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria.

McGuireWoods has signed a lease as the anchor tenant of the building, occupying 217,000 square feet of the building’s office space and a conference center on the top floor. The law firm now leases about 244,000 square feet in One James Center downtown, and that lease expires August 2015. Richard Cullen, chairman of McGuireWoods, told Virginia Business that the law firm considered locations in the region’s suburbs as well as downtown.  “We are real pleased that we’re able to stay in the city,” he said. “There were some attractive locations in the suburbs, but when push came to shove, we felt like we had made a longstanding commitment to the city and wanted to be there.” 
As currently planned, Gateway Plaza will represent an investment of more than $110 million, although that figure could go up if more floors are added.
Colliers International is the leasing agent for the project and the Chicago office of Colliers represented McGuireWoods in its search for a new office. Colliers said it is engaged in discussions with other companies interested in moving to Gateway Plaza. “Colliers is pleased to be part of this exciting project. We already are talking to many companies about locating operations in Gateway Plaza, which has a great location and amenities that meet the needs of modern firms looking to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness,” said Bob Chodos, Colliers principal leasing agent for the project.
Under Clayco’s schedule, the developer will continue to work with the city of Richmond to obtain necessary agreements and permits. Ground breaking is expected to occur in the late spring of 2013. Occupancy by McGuireWoods, with more than 630 attorneys, staff and consultants, should occur in 2015.

Steve Gentil, a partner in the Richmond office of Colliers International, called the project “a sign of the health and viability of downtown. It’s great when a large, Class A tenant decides to stay. What that means to the Richmond commercial downtown tax base is huge. We get another beautiful building on the skyline.  The other thing is what that headcount means for retail and apartments downtown. We’re getting better apartments,  and it sure helps when there are jobs downtown.”

Economic studies show that Gateway Plaza will offer several significant benefits, including:

• 812 construction jobs, paying a total of more than $50.7 million in wages.
• 1,653 jobs, including more than 630 at McGuireWoods.
• Projected generation of new cumulative tax revenues of more than $117 million over the next 30 years.

Headquartered in Chicago, Clayco is involved in development projects across the United States and abroad. The company, founded in 1984, provides real estate, architectural, engineering, design-build and construction services. It has 1,000 employees and annual revenues in excess of $820 million.
Forum Studio will serve as the project architect for Gateway Plaza. With offices in Chicago and St. Louis, it serves a diverse range of national and international clients


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