McAllen, TX-Hunt Power, a Dallas-based affiliate of Hunt Consolidated Inc., will break ground in mid-July on a 75,000-sf call center shell for “technology intensive tenants” in McAllen-Mission on the Mexico-US border.

The Sharyland Plantation project is being developed under the auspices of Hunt Power subsidiary, CentraTek, LP. Hunt Power is a utility-related consulting service. Hunt Power vice president Hugh Baker Jr. tells that the call center industry typically has a “compressed” timeframe of three to four months for construction and set up.

Consequently, the more traditional approach is to buy an empty big box and retrofit it. Baker says Hunt can match that short timeframe with the innovative design of a “sustainable technology business center” by delivering a developed shell.

The McAllen-Mission shell, carrying a year-end completion, will consist of three 25,000-sf modules with 50-foot by 60-foot bays. Each module will hold about 200 workstations. Four-foot clerestory windows in each module will allow natural light into the centers.

Kingsland Scott Bauer Associates, a Pittsburgh-based architectural firm, is the project designer. Principal Roger Kingsland says the buildings will easily support changesin the labor force, technology and business processes of its future tenants. The buildings will have equipment rails for additional AC units or other equipment, raised access flooring for modular cabling, power distribution and energy-efficient heating and cooling and optional on-site generators.

Baker would not give a project or shell construction price, but says the building will be on par with the price of outmoded power centers. The buildings will be positioned in the 6,000-acre Sharyland Plantation that is being developed by a sister Hunt subsidiary. Baker says an international bridge is being constructed, with the game plan to link the 6,000 US acres to 16,000 acres in Mexico, where there will be another Hunt development. Sharyland Plantation is a master-planned community of residential, commercial and industrial components.

Hunt Power and its subsidiaries plan more such call center shells, but Baker is mum about other possible sites for the undertaking. The McAllen-Mission area had been chosen as a launch location due to a young, bi-lingual workforce. It also is a third-tier city, a demographic that is popular in the call center industry because there is less competition for workers than first-tier cities, a problem confronting call center operators in the state’s metropolises.

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