(Read more on the industrial market.)

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GILBERT, AZ-Birtcher Development & Investment Co. andLunsford Group have joined forces to develop the 600-acre MorrisonRanch Business Park. The mixed-use project, which is anticipatedfor a summer 2008 groundbreaking, will consist of 8.2 million sf ofoffice, industrial and hospitality product at an all-in cost of $2billion.

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The development will be along Power Road between Elliot andWarner roads, with 400 acres in Gilbert and 200 acres inneighboring Mesa. The first phase will likely involve an industrialspec, though plans for the initial phase are still pending.

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Also involved in the business park development is the localMorrison Family, which is developing the overall 2,000-acremaster-plan Morrison Ranch. According to Brandon Birtcher,president and CEO of Birtcher Development & Investments inIrvine, CA, the Morrison Family's contribution to the partnershipis land for the business park.

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Birtcher says the park will be a mix of speculative developmentsand build-to-suit buildings, corporate campuses and a hotel or two,all anticipated to generate 24,000 jobs for the area. He says thathe and Allan Lunsford, president of the Newport Beach, CA-basedLunsford Group should have more specific plans for the site withinthe next 120 days.

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Birtcher tells GlobeSt.com that market demand dictated the mixfor this particular development. "The East Valley is exploding withnew homes at all price points and beautiful master-plannedresidential communities," he says. Additionally, the opening ofLoop 202, the San Tan Freeway, a year ago also opened the area forbusiness parks, retail centers and hospitality developments. "Thiswill be the first business park product to support Morris Ranch andthe surrounding area," Birtcher adds.

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Though Morrison Ranch Business Park is the first project for thepartners, Birtcher says his relationship with Allan Lunsford goesabout 20 years. Meanwhile, Lunsford and the Morrison Family alsohad a longstanding relationship, which was how the deal wasdeveloped. "This took about two years to get there," heacknowledges. "This went through design and economic models,negotiation of the joint venture agreement and getting it executed.But we all share the same vision for this property."

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