Oceaneering International’s Marine Services Division had outgrown its functionally obsolete, split facility 90,000 square foot regional headquarters at 700 Rosemont Avenue in Chesapeake, VA. The division was growing at a rapid pace and the existing site presented significant operational and logistics challenges which inhibited continued growth. With a highly specialized workforce, any relocation had to encourage retention, minimize the impact on commutes and help establish Oceaneering as the “employer of choice” in the Hampton Roads area. Additionally, there were a limited number of existing facilities large enough to accommodate Oceaneering’s requirements and even fewer ready-to-build sites that could adequately address its real estate needs.
Consideration & Analysis
Serten advised Oceaneering’s executive staff, architect, and project consultants to develop a comprehensive real estate strategy and facility program which identified and outlined significant highly specialized space needs for the new regional headquarters. The facility plan addressed office and manufacturing standards and requirements in addition to the company’s operational, specialized equipment considerations and outside storage needs.
At the same time, employee-commuting patterns, demographics, and proximity to contract requirements were studied for prospective sites in three different municipalities in Virginia and in North Carolina. Each municipality was engaged for economic incentives and various other training and employment related concessions, as well as expedited approval in the event of relocation to that jurisdiction. Three sites in various municipalities were considered in the final round of the site selection process, and Serten conducted in depth final municipal incentive negotiations with several parties.
Serten and the project team also conducted a thorough developer selection process to select an appropriate partner to assist in design, development, and construction the new facility. This phase of the engagement involved a final competition between four prominent real estate developers active in the Hampton Roads area. A complete set of plans and specifications were distributed to the prospective developer/landlords, and each participant was asked to present their optimal transaction structure and lease terms to Oceaneering.