Banco Santander (NYSE:STD)
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Spanish banking group Banco Santander (STD) said Monday it plans to invest $110 million to build a new office tower in Mexico's northern industrial hub of Monterrey, aiming to finish the project by the end of 2013.
Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city with 3.7 million inhabitants, has recently been in the spotlight of Mexico's bloody war between rival drug gangs, prompting many wealthy Mexicans and foreigners to leave. The city is home to a number of Mexico's largest corporations, including global cement giant Cemex (CX, CEMEX.MX) and retail and beverage conglomerate Femsa (FMX).
Santander said in a press release that its new tower will be close to 200 meters high, with 42 stories, "making it the highest, most modern and most efficient office building in the north of the country, and becoming an icon for the city of Monterrey."
The bank's real estate subsidiary, Santander Global Property, will be in charge of renting out the tower's 50,300 square meters of office space and its 1,000-square-meter commercial area.
Santander said it plans to occupy 6,000 square meters of the building, where it will concentrate about 350 employees from Mexico's northeastern region.
"This is the first project of Santander Global Property of Mexico, and it marks the beginning of a series of big, new, world-class real estate developments that will be carried out soon in the country," Santander said.
Construction of Santander's tower is expected to begin in the first half of 2011. The U.S. architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, which designed Malaysia's Petronas Towers and New York's World Financial Center, has been contracted for the project.
-By Paul Kiernan, Dow Jones Newswires; (5255)5980-5178, email@example.com