The Architect Newswire is an aggregation of news from media outlets around the world, intended to keep you abreast of all of the industry’s important developments. The stories we feature are not reported, edited, or fact-checked by Architect’s staff.

THE TIMES-PICAYUNE (NEW ORLEANS)
CRE demand grows in St. Tammany Parish
Stirling Properties plans to build six new office buildings in St. Tammany Parish, La. Rebecca Mowbray reports that the 600,000-square-foot project, on which the first phase of construction will start in the spring, will increase the area’s office space by 40 percent. “We used to live in the commuter world were people wanted to live in the suburbs and work in the Central Business Distinct. Now people want to live and work nearby,” says Stirling Properties vice president for development Townsend Underhill. “It's part of a natural progression for St. Tammany Parish. We're projected to grow for the next 15 to 20 years, as we see companies over there expanding, and companies from outside moving in,” says St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation executive director Brenda Reine-Bertus.

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TIMES-NEWS (HENDERSONVILLE, NC)
Henderson hires architect
The Hendersonville (N.C.) City Council has chosen Charlotte, N.C.–based ADW to design a new fire station. “Their presentation was thorough and they have done fire stations in North and South Carolina,” Mayor Barbara Volk says. “They showed us a couple of possible layouts.” John Harbin reports that the design may incorporate parts of an existing 36,000-square-foot building on the site. ADW bested locally based O’Cain Design Group and Gastonia, N.C.’s Stewart, Cooper for the project.

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AKRON BEACON JOURNAL (OHIO)
Former Chrysler site evolving
Demolition crews are taking down some 1.4 million square feet of the former Chrysler Stamping Plant in Twinsburg, Ohio. “That’s the future of the City of Twinsburg right there,” says economic development director Larry Finch. Paula Scheis reports that construction has already begun on a 137,000-square-foot Vistar plant at the 120-acre site. Further development is expected soon and may include an 800,000-square-foot portion of the old plant that’s being saved—an area that has 42-foot-high ceilings and 75-ton cranes. “We don’t know the fate of the high bay,” says Grubb & Ellis vice president Terry Coyne. “We love it, but as wonderful as it is, the market may not support it.”

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SOUTHEAST MISSOURIAN
GSA auction slow

The General Services Administration has Cape Girardeau, Mo.’s former federal building up for auction—again—and there hasn’t been much interest to date. Scott Moyers reports that the two-story, 47,867-square-foot building failed to sell earlier this year, despite interest from three bidders. No bids have been received since the second auction opened on Nov. 9. “I'm really concerned now that the building may become empty and vacant for an extended period of time,” Mayor Harry Rediger says. “It's by far a very unusual situation.” The GSA remains more optimistic for the 1967 structure’s future. “[W]e know there's interest in the building,” says GSA spokeswoman Angela Brees. “We're still hopeful we'll be able to sell it.”

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ORLANDO SENTINEL (FL)
Florida VA clinic being renovated
Viera, Fla.’s Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic is scheduled to start a $2.76 million renovation later this month. Mary Shanklin reports that the Orlando office of VOA Associates designed the 45,000-square-foot project. The clinic will remain open throughout the construction process.

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MUSKEGON CHRONICLE (MI)
Social Security’s new home

Twenty-eight employees of the U.S. Social Security Administration will occupy new offices in downtown Muskegon, Mich., this May. Dave Alexander reports that Landmark Design Group is architect of the $1.4 million, 11,000-square-foot single-story building. “Having several dozen new employees working downtown is nothing but good,” says Downtown Muskegon Now director Andrew Haan. “That provides a better market for restaurants and retailers.”

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THE NEW YORK TIMES
Presidents join for energy-efficiency initiative
President Obama and former President Clinton announced $4 billion in public-private commitments to finance energy efficient building renovation. Jackie Calmes reports that the money is part of the Better Buildings Initiative originally unveiled by Obama last February. “This is a sure-fire way to create jobs and make our nation’s federal buildings more energy efficient, all without using a penny of taxpayer money.” Says U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas J. Donohue. Clinton added, “I believe as strongly as I can say that this is good business, creates jobs, makes us more energy independent and helps to fight climate change.”

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PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS (FL)
Private club gets public honor
Palm Beach, Fla.’s famously private Bath & Tennis Club received the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s 2011 Ballinger Award for the restoration of its 85,000-square-foot historic structure. “With everyone’s help we have fortified our landmarked clubhouse and restored it to its original glory,” says club president Nancy Murray. Darrell Hofheinz reports that the four-year project restores the original vision created in 1926 by architect Joseph Urban. West Palm Beach–based Glidden Spina & Partners were architects for the restoration.

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VINEYARD GAZETTE (MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MA)
Foster buys President’s summer place
Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Sir Norman Foster and his wife, Lady Elena Foster, have purchased the Chilmark, Mass., Blue Heron Farm. Vanessa Czarnecki reports that President Obama rented the $21.9 million property for summer vacations for the past three years. Details of the transaction are complicated, but Czarnecki writes, “it is understood that the Fosters will not rent out the estate.”  No word on whether that includes the Obama family as well.

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CURBED NATIONAL
America’s first Hello Kitty House
Sarah Firshein reports that Haute PR CEO Robin Kassner is building a Hello Kitty house in the Hamptons. “It's pink on the outside, it's very fabulous,” Kassner says. “I just ordered these Hello Kitty refrigerators and dishwashers from Italy.” While the exact location remains unknown, it won’t be the world’s first Hello Kitty house—that’s located in Shanghai.

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