Four years ago, Younan Properties acquired Meridian Bank Towerat 3550 N. Central Ave. for $11 million and Central Plaza at 4041N. Central Ave. for $21 million. These days, class A office spacein the CBD has been trading for $280 per sf to $325 per sf. CBRichard Ellis' Phoenix team has the marketing assignments for bothbuildings.


Zaya S. Younan, chairman and CEO of the Woodland Hills, CA-basedinvestment group, says the reason for the double sale has nothingto do with the Phoenix market, but everything to do with hiscompany's footprint in the market. "Combined these two buildingsare about 700,000 sf. We like to be in a market with a largerholding, but we couldn't find anything additional in Phoenix to buyat this time," he explains.


[IMGCAP(2)]Additionally, the corporate chief says YounanProperties has succeeded in its goal to turn around both assets,having invested a combined $6 million for upgrades andstabilization. The 26-year-old Central Plaza stood at 60% occupancywhen Younan Properties acquired it in April 2004 while MeridianBank Tower, also of 1980s vintage, was 55% leased when the companyclosed on it the following October. The buildings are now 93% and90% occupied, respectively.


Younan emphatically tells that while he's out of themarket right now, he's not gone for good. He says the basicfundamentals are still very strong--and he'll be back. "Not longago, Phoenix was the best-performing market in the country," heexplains, adding the market is going through a "catch your breath"moment. "But once that breath is caught, look out. With the lack ofnew inventory coming on line and continued strong absorption, themarket will do well."

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