Bunge North America Represented by Cassidy Turley in Search for New HQ

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nextSTL has learned that commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley is representing Bunge North America in the search for a potential new headquarters. The company is the North American operating arm of $61 billion global agribusiness and food company Bunge Limited.

More than 400 local Bunge North America employees currently commute to and from the Maryland Heights headquarters on Borman Dr. near I-270 and Page Ave. The company has overseen the operations of its employees, currently numbering approximately 4,000, throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico at this campus since relocating from New York in 1989.

The Bunge North America Maryland Heights offices are located in a three story building that was completed in 1981. Known as Woodlands Plaza I, the 95,000 sq ft building is situated on five acres. It is owned and managed by Tower Properties. The Kansas City-based commercial real estate firm also owns and manages the 7911 Forsyth Building in Clayton.

An attempt to reach Cassidy Turley senior managing director Scott Bozoian for comment was unsuccessful. However, nextSTL sources say Bunge North America is weighing all options and have not ruled out the idea of build-to-suit for the potential new headquarters. A company media relations representative had also not yet returned a nextSTL call for information regarding the project.

Bunge North America supplies raw and processed agricultural commodities and food ingredients. They are a leading exporter and supplier of soybean, corn, wheat, and rice in the United States. Customers include the livestock, poultry, food processor, foodservice, and baking industries.

The company also operates grain elevators along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. They serve as a connection between bulk grain farmers and food producing companies looking for ingredients to make their products.

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  • STLExplorer

    Plenty of space for them downtown (existing or new construction)…

    • John R

      They can take over the soon to be vacated building by Union Station that was built for the Veterans Administration. It is right by a Metrolink stop, which apparently is of no interest to the General Services Administration.

    • Dogtown Dude

      Is this so progressive to think that they would actually move downtown or even inside I-170? I don’t see them as a trailblazing organization. I predict if they stay in the region, that they will end up somewhere with new construction, inexpensive price and close to where their employees live – like St. Charles, St. Peter’s or the up and coming Chesterfield area.

      • John R

        I wouldn’t be shocked by a move to Cortex area. AB Mauri, a yeast and baking company, just announced its moving from Chesterfield to Cortex. Bunge may be a bit less food science-oriented than AB Mauri, but it might make sense for it to be there as well.

  • MRNHS

    Hopefully Mayor Slay knows about this and rolls out the red carpet…and keeps Rainford away from the negotiations.

    • Geoff Whittington

      Be a nice corporate anchor for Ball Park Village.

      • STLEnginerd

        Yes but I don’t think they derive the corporate value that some other corporation do by building in BPV. I think local consumer product companies (Post, Panera, Energizer etc.) as well as retail (Schnucks, Deirbergs, etc.) derive more value by being visible by 45K baseball fan 100 days out of the year. I don’t quite understand the reason these types of companies fail to see the brand value there. Bunge would get some visibility to potential employees but other than that i don’t quite know what value BPV gives them over some other building downtown.

        • Geoff Whittington

          Agreed. I just liked the employee number.

          • Geoff Whittington

            I personally believe Mr. Ihnen should move the nextSTL corporate headquarters down to Ballpark Village so we could capitalize off it.

          • Karl

            A nextSTL representative declined to comment on any possible search for a headquarters location.

          • Geoff Whittington

            Ha!

      • http://donspoliticalblog.blogspot.com Don

        My thoughts exactly.

  • Alex Devlin

    Might be nice to fill the soon to be vacant AT&T building….

    • Nathan Bookhout

      I second that idea. What’s the estimate on price per SF at the At&t building?

      • http://donspoliticalblog.blogspot.com Don

        my guess is this building could be had for a bargain. AT&T has several vacant floors under lease for a few more years as I understand it?

        • tpekren

          ATT sold the building off a few years ago with a ten year lease commitment if not mistaken (obviously doesn’t mean that ATT had to keep its workforce in the building for 10 years). Can’t recall the owner’s name but they might have deep pockets and a minimum target on square footage price. In other words, it could be sit empty a few years because they are still collecting a rent check and can’t see why some one would buy an St. Louis office tower with the idea that it could be sold for a quick buck in a couple of years.. The optimistic side way to look at it, I believe the owners are out of NY. Maybe they are pounding the streets, specifically Wall Street, looking for a major financial firm back office relocation. St. Louis financial presence is pretty impressive when you start talking Wells Faro Securities, Edward Jones, Stifel Nichols, Scottrade and cost of business for back office workers is most likely cheap compared to NY..

          • John R

            I think the lease is through 2017, so just 2.5 years. Who knows, maybe the owners will be able to pull off a miracle, but even drawing a couple hundred corporate workers won’t do…. they’ll need thousands to make a go of this 1 million sq.ft. building in need of a lot of upgrades. Most likely, a company thinking of bringing thousands to downtown is going to want new construction featuring modern, flexible office space. GSA consolidating workers downtown is the only thing I can think of.

          • John R

            correction… 3.5 yrs. remaining on the lease if its through the end of ’17; I also see the owners paid about $200 million for the building in ’06.

          • tpekren

            Thanks, didn’t realize it was sold in 06′ For some reason I thought the sale was more recent and after my wife transferred out of the ATT One building in order for us to move to my new job in 09.
            .
            I’m still amazed how many corporate and development people in ATT are working out of their home or telecommuting like my wife. They recently did the same in San Ramon, CA. Sold off their office space back to the developer and plan on a much smaller lease, footprint for its NorCal regional office. I believe ATT has sold off a number of office buildings and reduced their square footage significantly, not only in St Louis.

          • http://donspoliticalblog.blogspot.com Don

            Edward Jones is spread out in a couple campuses. My fantasy would be their consolidation at this facility in downtown but I’m not holding my breath. Based upon my experience with my own partners, I’m guessing the decision makers want to be as far west as possible.

      • John R

        I think Class A currently averages around $17/ sq. ft. downtown, much less than Clayton. The building probably needs substantial upgrades as well, so it likely would be less than that for a company that would be interested in going in today. I’ve also heard that there needs to be a large presence in the building just to cover operating costs; I agree with Don that the GSA could probably buy this building for a bargain, if not a song and dance, if there are no good prospects waiting in the wings. I think GSA could fill up a good chuck of the building with various agencies and such a move would be a win-win for everyone involved.

    • John R

      General Services Administration should buy this building and consolidate its VA workers (rather than in non-transit friendly Page Avenue) and bring other agencies. Moving 900 federal workers out of downtown is just bad, bad, bad. Did Slay ever fight to keep them here?

    • illusion87

      I thought a lawfirm from Chicago was going to lease this building and fill it?

      • Hasan

        You’re kidding right?

        • illusion87

          No, my aunt used to work in this building before retiring from ATT and that’s what she told me a month or so ago…

          • John R

            I’m sure the owners are working hard on new firms to lease the building and at least a silver lining is that they have plenty of lead time; however, I can’t see even a larger law firm filling up more than a handful of floors. It is going to be a huge challenge to get to a decent occupancy rate and it’s a shame GSA isn’t consolidating federal workers in the region into it like they are doing in KC.

  • tpekren

    How about a new corporate HQ located on the river like so many of its facilities. I can picture a new slim BUNGE HQ tower and new Drury Tower on Laclede’s landing!!! It would be next to metrolink stop, have easy access to multiple freeways and centrally located. A slim tower with BUNGE on top would be highly visibly from a number of locations and its employees would have a nice shiny newly rebuilt Arch Grounds nearby and the corporate conference room could have a view of the might Mississippi where so much of their commerce takes a place as well as the Arch itself. You might not have a baseball stadium next door but a very good chance of a NFL stadium.

    • Geoff Whittington

      I like that idea very much.

      • John R

        ditto.

  • Jeff Leonard

    What’s the motivation for a new HQ? Do they need more space (as in they’re expanding)? Facilities antiquated? Just looking for more details, if available.

    • Geoff Whittington

      I will try to follow this story and update when possible.

      • MRNHS

        Is it just Bunge’s St. Louis office that is looking for a new building, or the HQ? I believe their HQ is in NY…is this what they are looking to relocate?

    • Hasan

      They’re looking for 175k sq ft.

  • Hasan

    While I would love if they made a move to downtown St. Louis (720 Olive?), I don’t think it would happen due to lack of quality space. IF they move to the city, I see them going to Cortex. If not, then downtown Clayton (possibly as a lead tenant for the second tower next to Centene Plaza).

    • John R

      I agree that Cortex may be more likely if Bunge chooses to move to the city, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be a lead tenant for a build-to-suit commercial building downtown. As for 720 Olive, its owners are getting inquiries from residential developers…. makes sense. Or at least something like the Millennium Center, which consolidated companies on lower floors with top 11 floors for residential. Hopefully something comes together soon after Laclede Gas moves out.

  • STLEnginerd

    I’d be willing to bet that where ever the leadership of Bunge NA lives the new HQ will be withing 10 mins of the CEO’s houses. If he lives in Clayton, it could be either Clayton, or CORTEX, if he lives in the city i’d expect they’ll choose downtown, and if he has 10 acres in Wildwood expect to see them build a new building in Chesterfield. While the jobs and density these companies could bring are incredibly important, and the cost benifits of location has an impact on shareholders, I don’t think site selection is much more complicated than figuring out where the CEO lives.

    • STLEnginerd

      As a follow up perhaps the city should try something a little different to capture these HQs. Guaranteed enrollment at Metro High for children of executives. The school question falls away as Metro High is the highest ranked school in the region. They could be sold on the idea of living in a Guilded age mansion, by the greatest park in the country and the school problem falls away. It’s shady and possibly immoral and throws the whole integrity of the magnate school process into question, BUT it might work as a bargaining chip to score some HQs.

      • onecity

        Any middle class or affluent family moving to the city limits should be guaranteed spots in any magnet school, or gifted (if kids qualify) program.

    • http://donspoliticalblog.blogspot.com Don

      Exactly! You hit the nail right on the head. This was always the motivating factor in attempts to move my firm west.

      Rent disparity between Clayton and downtown has grown exponentially in recent years which I keep hoping will help downtown. We did the math recently and found that the earnings tax added about $2.50 per foot to rent cost in downtown. However, Clayton class ‘A’ office space was literally double the cost per foot for downtown which after absorbing the earning tax still saves $12 to $14/a foot over Clayton. That is a significant cost savings.

      • tpekren

        I believe the other question that probably comes into play, what does Bunge NA/executives define or desire as Class A? A new tower or recondition space? I believe you got your fair share of available property and you have a fair share developers who can build it in St. Louis. If they want new build, then difference on rents between Clayton and Downtown doesn’t matter as nearly as much and think you might get a wash with earnings tax.
        .
        Personally, I don’t see DeWitt/Cordish wanting to offer anything remotely competitive or give up a stake when it comes BPV. To me the north side of BPV is about land banking until some executive literally wants to pay the premium of stating that they are in BPV. Otherwise Centene would be downtown. Instead you got some legit developers from Centene to Crossings to Koman to McKee who can pretty much put them in space at their desired location. Yes, McKee, for whatever people think he did land MasterCard for the region and I believe his proposed Northside 22nd interchange/West Downtown will land business.
        ..
        Which gets me to another question, doesn’t Koman have a surface lot in Cupples or next to the Cupples warehouse that he redeveloped? A nice slim tower within a stone’s throw of Busch could probably be built without giving their first born to DeWitt/Cordish.

        • Geoff Whittington

          Koman has their hands full right now working on another local neighborhood project that would rival or surpass the magnitude of even a BPV development. Speaking of MasterCard, they are currently undergoing a significant renovation (cubicles being reduced in size) project that will allow for more workers in the same amount of space. Let’s hope for new hires.

          • tpekren

            Talk about another good teaser. I would say Koman was working on an expanded City Center in CC but it looks like they are going to come out on the good end with the existing low vacancy office buildings on the sales block. Maybe he is working on a Chouteau Greenway plan. Maybe they are making a play on the property next to the Forsyth metro station but something to rival BPV needs some space. Unless Koman teed up with McKee for West Downtown since you managed to mention both Koman and McKee in same reply. Fun to speculate.

          • Hasan

            Can you define “local neighborhood”?

          • Geoff Whittington

            Unfortunately, not at this time.

  • John R

    Bunge executives entered the Imaginarium for ideas and exited with the vision to convert the grain silos by Cortex into their offices.

  • illusion87

    There’s many places they can go with this in Downtown, which is where they hopefully will go.

  • Aaron

    I think they’ll pick somewhere gated and low-risk politically like Creve Coeur or Chesterfield. Companies like this had to have taken note of the Patriot Coal protests downtown last year.