Three of the 10 developers in the running to build a new state Department of Health and Human Services campus submitted proposals for the former ConAgra site in Garner.
A fourth developer, Raleigh-based Lundy Management Group, is proposing to build the campus off South Saunders Street in Raleigh, just inside the Beltline.
Either site could be attractive to the state because of their close proximity to the Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh, where 1,400 DHHS employees work. The state’s request for proposals said that preference would be given to sites near Dix.
Highwoods Properties, The Keith Corp. and Red Rock Development all submitted proposals for the ConAgra site, said Tony Beasley, Garner’s economic development director. The state has released the names of the developers that submitted bids but not the details of the proposals. Developers were able to submit proposals for multiple sites in the Triangle.
The state is seeking as much as 1 million square feet for the new campus, which would eventually replace the 30 state-owned and leased facilities that the agency now has in Wake County. DHHS will need between 600,000 and 650,000 square feet no later than June 2014, with additional space needed in 2017 and 2019.
Garner officials, who have been aggressively marketing the 105-acre site near Interstate 40 to prospective tenants, clearly see the DHHS project as a golden opportunity. The town went so far as to map where DHHS workers live based on their ZIP code and submitted that information to the state.
The town’s analysis found that 79 percent of the agency’s employees live in the southern and eastern portions of the Triangle.
“It would be a perfect fit,” Beasley said.
The developers shared their site plans for the property with the Garner Economic Development Corp., which owns the land. ConAgra, which closed its meat-snacks plant there last year, donated the property to the town after the company decided to move Slim Jim production to Ohio following a deadly explosion at the facility in 2009.
Lundy’s proposal for the 42-acre site on South Saunders was made in partnership with the Raleigh architecture firm Clearscapes and the Cary construction firm J.M. Thompson Co. The property, which is owned by the Penny family, is about a mile from downtown Raleigh and two miles from Dix.
DHHS is seeking to sign a 20-year lease for either an existing property or a build-to-suit campus.
Other developers have submitted plans for sites farther from Dix.
Lookout Ventures has proposed putting the campus in Apex. The company has assembled more than 1,000 acres for a massive mixed-use project called Veridia. Commercial Properties Realty Trust is hoping to build the campus in North Raleigh. It owns more than 350 acres at the intersection of Interstate 540 and Louisburg Road.
Craig Davis Properties is proposing Park Center, a nine-building office park at N.C. 54 and Davis Drive with about 750,000 square feet.