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MINNETONKA, MN-Opus Northwest will break ground this morning on the 110,000-sf headquarters building for Syngenta Seeds, a Switzerland-based agricultural firm. The building is one of two planned for the Crest Ridge Corporate Center, expected to cost a total of $63.2 million to build.

The property, at the southeast corner of Interstate 394 and Hopkins Crossroad, will have a total of 230,000-sf when completed, says Tom Shaver, VP of Opus. Syngenta’s building, which the company will fully lease long-term, will be finished by June 2009, he tells GlobeSt.com.

The company is consolidating about 350 employees nationwide to the three-story office building. The tenants are having Opus build the facility to LEED Gold certification, using green practices such as open areas, water efficient landscaping and increased natural lighting. The second building will have sustainable features, but will not be to the Gold standard, Shaver says.

The second building will be built on a speculative basis, though Opus is waiting to get a lead tenant for the 120,000-sf planned facility, Shaver says. “We’ve had excellent interest. We hope to have something negotiated by this fall.” The asking rate will range from $18 to $19 per sf, he says, much less than the mid-$20s that are the average asking range for the area, according to a Grubb & Ellis market report.

He says the area is one of the tightest submarkets in the Twin Cities area. “Well, we didn’t overbuild here, and there’s been some good corporate growth,” he says. “We also weren’t overextended into the mortgage arena that supported the housing boom like the coastal cities, so we’re not having the same economic issues that they’re having now.”

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