Developer: $455 million Wells Fargo campus in Irving is one of more to come in North Texas

KDC, a Dallas-based developer, broke ground this week on a $455 million regional campus for Wells Fargo in Irving's Las Colinas district. Steve Van Amburgh, CEO of KDC, says more similar corporate campuses are in the pipeline in North Texas.

Developer: $455 million Wells Fargo campus in Irving is one of more to come in North Texas

Steve Van Amburgh is the CEO of Dallas-based KDC and he loves to build large, exceptional facilities.

Van Amburgh & KDC can boast a number of high-profile, large-scale projects, including the Toyota Motor North America Headquarters and three other corporate build-to suit campuses at Legacy West, Plano; the Epic mixed-use development in Deep Ellum, Dallas; and the Blue Cross Blue Shield & State Farm corporate campuses located in Cityline, Richardson.

They're still not finished. Not even close.

KDC broke the ground on a $455-million regional campus in Irving's Las Colinas District for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo. The campus will have two towers and 855,000 square feet of office space. It is expected to be completed in 2025.

This is the largest office project in Texas in terms of dollar value. It represents a big bet in a period of uncertainty regarding the future of the office sector, lending conditions and the economy in general.

Wells Fargo anticipates consolidating more than 800,000.00 square feet of offices in more than 12 offices in Dallas-Fort Worth to the Lake Carolyn facility in Irving when construction is completed and the campus opens up in 2025.

The Dallas Business Journal spoke with Van Amburgh about the Wells Fargo project, the Fields development, Frisco and the prospects for corporate relocations in North Texas.

Let's begin with the broadest possible view. What do you see in the pipeline for large corporate development and headquarters projects?

I would say that corporate projects like this one (Wells Fargo) are probably 60%. Then redevelopment projects are more like 40% and they can be anything from health care to public buildings. Corporate projects, like the one at Wells Fargo, are about 60%. Redevelopment projects are closer to 40%. They can range from public buildings to health care. All types. The banking crisis, which hopefully will end soon, and the instability of the interest rates market are causing a lot companies to say, "Let's pause the button and make sure we build the right type, size, and location of buildings."

We have a lot of work to do. We are working methodically to ensure that we deliver the services that everyone wants, both in terms of development and client service.

What is your experience in Dallas Fort Worth?

Dallas-Fort Worth probably makes up 70% of the total. It's the best market of the United States. People are more comfortable here. We are so lucky and fortunate to be here. Imagine that the Governor and CEO of Wells Fargo came to launch a project today. Just under $500 million in funding is a significant amount. This is not something that happens in many other markets, and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity. The governor quoted statistics on Texas' economic development, in-migration, and its position in relation to other states in the nation. It's all true. It's incredible how many people would like to live here (if they aren't already).

What role does KDC play in the massive Fields project at Frisco?

It is our role to develop and recruit commercial office properties in the area. We will respond to any company that is interested in the development. We will meet and discuss pricing, schedules, and even get an architect to design a schematic package. It's an exciting place. Fields Frisco has a lot of potential. When you see the PGA headquarters, the Omni, and all of the other things going on at the Fields development (with all the residential), it is only a matter time before someone decides to build a nice office building.

What type of development would you like to see? A corporate campus or something similar to the Toyota Headquarters?

Yes (similar). All I can tell you is that we are really lucky and you are really lucky to have found this market. I hope we have at least two or three celebrations of this kind in the next six-to-nine months.

What has been the biggest obstacle on this Wells Fargo Project? What is the biggest challenge yet to come?

The city was very cooperative. The state was extremely cooperative. We've been extremely cooperative. Wells Fargo did an amazing job in ensuring that the design met their needs. Corgan is an incredible architect. Austin is one the best contractors in the region. Nothing.

It's amazing how well a project has come together after a pandemic. It couldn't be that simple, right?

Yeah, I would say the minute that everybody released the pause button (after the worst of the pandemic), Wells Fargo was the most aggressive and anxious to get going because of the benefits they'll get out of this facility. This is going to be an incredible recruitment tool for them. And I think one thing you should know about is the solar panels or photovoltaic cells that are on top of both office buildings, and the garage, generate enough electricity that Wells Fargo can't even use enough of it. It's called net zero, which means they will not even penetrate the electrical grid, and they actually will be putting electricity back into the grid. And this will be an energy generator. If you think about it, what testimony is that to Wells Fargo? Trying to save the planet, so to speak, with all that's going on. So you know, this has been a lot of fun.

What is the scope and vision for this project?

Parking across the street is included in the site size of 20 acres. The development will be done in three phases. First phase is 850,000 square feet. Then, if they choose to proceed, they can move on to the second and third phases. If they choose to build out the entire site, it will be 1.6 million square feet.

The mid-400s (around $450 million) is the price. Take that number and you'll find that it is right on par with the current market prices. We're happy with that.