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The purpose of Virtual Buildings is to accelerate development time frames for a potential employer tenant providing building development/design for 40,000-60,000 square feet of flexible space (expandable up to 80,000 square feet), to support Life Sciences, Professional Services & Support and/or Research and Development uses outlined below.

A Virtual Building Program (VBP) is a business location alternative to an existing building. A virtual building is on a site where all the preliminary work has been completed to start construction immediately on a building. The building has been designed, permitted (site and building), all utilities are to the site, the development team is in place, firm cost estimates, and a construction schedule have been established.

The virtual building has all the required elements in place to deliver a building suited for specific needs within fixed costs and timeframe. Economic development prospects can easily visualize a building on a site and offers advantages over constructing a spec building:
  • Expedite the construction process; could reduce time by 3-4 months for design to occupancy.
  • Quickly and cost-effectively modify the building design to meet the specific needs of the buyer/tenant.
  • Demonstrates how the building will look on-site prior to pad construction.
The conceptual design, providing the actual virtual building designed to 90% site design and 60% shell building construction document phase.

Why did you start this program?

Rio Rancho and Sandoval County currently lack available, suitable buildings for economic-base companies. We are losing prospects both because we have no suitable buildings and/or large land tracks with services, with some limited exceptions. This is crucial for success in attracting our target sectors. This includes both manufacturing, bio-sciences, and professional office buildings (Class A). Since companies generally want to occupy the building as quickly as possible, a construction timetable has been developed that indicates potential completion of the construction and occupancy of the building within six months.

How do you get a virtual building?

The virtual building process involves a team of designers, contractors, specialized service providers such as geo-technical, and the public sector, particularly those who review plans and issue approvals. The intent is to have the virtual building reviewed by the appropriate regulatory agencies to determine if permits can be issued on the design. This review should go to at least the point of final review but not trigger final review and permit issuance. This will avoid the institution of the permit time limit and costs associated with issuance of a building permit. Once a buyer/tenant is identified, final design will be instituted and permits issued.

As a minimum, conceptual designs include:
  • Site plan and utilities including drainage
  • Foundation design
  • Building floor plan and envelope design
  • Broadband services and capacities (important)
  • Electric, plumbing, and HVAC to serve the type of the targeted products and users below
  • For Life Sciences uses, potential provision of wet lab space
  • Exterior design and elevations
  • Landscape plan
  • Parking layouts

Note: Some users may require enhanced building security especially life sciences/biomedical cybersecurity and data center companies.

Targeted Products/Uses

Proposals should be flexible space and expandable, fitting one or more anticipated uses aligned with the economic-base employer attraction efforts of Sandoval Economic Alliance (SEA). Per a January 2018 Target Industry and Laborshed Study performed by Avalanche Consulting for SEA, Target Employers for the area, in addition to Research & Development, include:

  • Biomedical Testing & Labs
  • Medical Suppliers
  • Medical Technology
  • Biosciences Manufacturing
  • Natural Resource Management Technology
  • Data Centers
  • Financial & Technology Support Centers
  • Cybersecurity operations
  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • Aerospace
  • Electronics Manufacturing
  • Metals Manufacturing
  • Renewable Energy Manufacturing
  • Robotics

Ideal Building Sizes

Life Sciences and Associated Uses: 25,000 square feet – 50,000 square feet with 2X expansion capability

Professional Services & Support: 40,000 square feet – 50,000 square feet with .5X expansion capability

Manufacturing & Technology: 100,000 square feet – 200,000 square feet with .5X expansion capability