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BURBANK, CA-Higgins Development Partners LLC of Newport Beach will build its $130-million 2300 Empire Center office project to meet LEED Silver certification for design, construction and operation. Higgins recently broke ground for the seven-story, 363,000-sf office development and parking structure, which will occupy a site at 2300 W. Empire Blvd. in the city’s Media District.

The 2300 Empire Center office component is the last phase of a mixed-use retail, office and hotel development called Empire Center. The office project is under way on the last infill and entitled site in the North Burbank Media District, measuring nearly 6.4 acres, at West Empire Boulevard and Buena Vista.

When Higgins announced the development earlier this year, Higgins SVP Nader Shah told GlobeSt.com that the firm chose the Burbank site for a number of reasons, among them the continuing demand for office space that has made Burbank and Pasadena “probably two of the strongest markets in the region.” According to recent market reports, the Burbank Media District’s office vacancy stands at 4%.

Although the project is in the Media District, Higgins expects that tenants in the new building will include a wide range of types of businesses, both in and outside of the media industry. CB Richard Ellis has the listing for the project, with leasing to be handled by Patrick Church and Anneke Greco of CBRE’s L.A. North office in Universal City.

Higgins is developing the project in a joint venture with Chicago-based Walton Street Capital LLC as an equity partner. Irvine-based Ware Malcomb is the architect for the building, which is scheduled for completion in early 2009, with Burbank-based McCormick Construction as general contractor.

The 50,000-sf floorplates of the Higgins building will be larger than those of most office developments in the area, where floorplates typically range from about 20,000 sf to 40,000 sf. The larger floorplates will accommodate larger users that need the extra space, but the 2300 Empire building will be designed so that the floors can easily be demised into smaller spaces, according to Shah.

The 2300 Empire site is part of a 106-acre former Lockheed aerospace facility. The former Lockheed site, like many former aerospace facilities in Southern California, has been redeveloped into a number of uses, including retail and office.

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