Green office park ahead of schedule

Published on Sunday, 20 July 2014 17:35 - Written by Casey Murphy

The Corporate Green Office Park started as a dream for Phil Burks four years ago.

Walking around the site off Paluxy Drive, busy with construction on Tuesday, Burks’ plan for a multiphased development is ahead of schedule.

Since they began clearing the land in January, two national companies have committed to becoming its first tenants, and will take up 80 percent of two out of five buildings, Burks, president of GenCore LLC, the owner of the Corporate Green development, said.

HW Lochner, a civil and transportation engineering company, will occupy 100 percent of Corporate Green Office Park Building 1, while Progressive Insurance will occupy 60 percent of Building 2. Tenant negotiations are underway for the second phase, and grading for Building 3 will begin within a month, Burks said.

 The first four buildings will be nearly 5,000 square feet each, while Building 5 will be about 10,000 square feet. The office park is across the street from Burks’ Phirst Building, which houses his company, The Genesis Group.

The buildings across from his are the same size and will look similar to each other and the Phirst Building. They will also have several energy-efficient features, such as insulation, windows and air-conditioning systems.

“The whole thing is to attract professional businesses,” Burks said of the office park. He is on the Tyler4Tech Committee and hopes to house technology companies there.

“I’m looking for high tech in the trees,” Burks said, adding that it is the dichotomy of the high tech field nestled in the trees God has created in East Texas.

Burks, who lives about five minutes from the property, said he saw that Old Jacksonville Highway was becoming a “hot area” for businesses, but Paluxy Drive has lower traffic, is quieter and is a “sleepy, below-the-radar location.” With Paluxy being a main thoroughfare and Grande Boulevard nearby, it is incredibly convenient, he added.

“I look at this as a long-term investment,” Burks said of the development. “I wanted something that looked like it belonged not in East Texas. I wanted to notch it up.”

The first shell building is complete, and Lochner is working to outfit the interior and plan to move in on Sept. 5, Burks said. Progressive should follow in the second building around Oct. 1, he added.

He said the national companies will add validity to the office park and brand.

Burks once had his office in the same building with some of the people at Lochner and believes them ending up at Corporate Green Office Park is a romantic story.

Lochner, which was Buchner Willis & Ratliff Corp. at the time, was thinking about buying land to construct an office building the same time Burks was. The company bought the property that the office park is being constructed on, and Burks bought the land across the street on Eagles Nest Boulevard.

But after the engineering firm was bought by Lochner, they sold the property to Burks, who “started having the vision for an office park,” he said. Lochner is now moving to a building where the company had originally planned to build a facility years ago, he added.

As for Progressive Insurance relocating its Tyler offices there, Burks said he loves that there is a national brand that recognized the quality of the office space and the setting in which they are doing it.

He said Progressive, which is moving from Paluxy Square, is leasing out 60 percent of Building 2, which means that 80 percent of the first two buildings are taken before they are even finished being built.

The office buildings are close to the line separating his property from the Eagle Wood Townhomes, but Burks plans to plant trees to make a natural barrier between the two. Landscaping the development, which will include replanting trees they had to remove for construction, will begin today.

There also will be a group of trees left in the center of the office buildings, making a common natural area. Burks plans to put a gazebo in the center and walking paths leading up to it so tenants can have a place to relax.

Matthew Marshall, of Drake Real Estate & Investments, said there is 1,990 square foot of lease space remaining in Building 2, and he has prospects for that space, as well as some possible tenants for Building 3, which is in the design phase.

Marshall, who is Burks’ broker and real estate consultant, said that as soon as Building 3 is about half leased, they will start on Building 4.

The five buildings will sit on about 6.5 acres, while Genesis is on about 4 acres. Burks said he also has a pad built, between Genesis and Paluxy Drive, which could house a 20,000-square-foot building.

Burks started out with more than 30 acres but after selling about 6 acres to XTO Energy, which is building a 24,000-square-foot facility on their property, he is left with about 26 acres. If Burks can sell more property, he said he will extend Eagles Nest Boulevard all the way out to Grande Boulevard.

There could be anywhere from five to 30 businesses in the office park when it’s completely developed, depending on the size of lots wanted by tenants or buyers, he said.

Marshall said Paluxy Drive is really the only undeveloped corridor remaining in Tyler with city utilities and services.

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