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PHOENIX-The Phoenix-based developer of an industrial project near Sky Harbor International Airport has solved the problem of finding affordable dirt and plans to begin construction by August.

Hewson Development Corp. had planned to close on a 4.2-acre parcel near Sky Harbor Airport, but is delaying the purchase after having difficulty in finding affordable dirt, says Jason Meszaros, a project manager with Hewson tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s expensive to get dirt,” he says. “It took a little longer to find that we thought it would.”

The site, at the northwest corner of 44th and Elwood streets, has a definitive slope and needs to be raised from two feet to four feet in places, Meszaros says. Hewson has secured enough clean fill to accommodate the project. Dirt in Phoenix sells for approximately $4 per cubic yard, delivered and transported to the site.

Hewson now is expected to close in August on the parcel, which is costing $26 per sf, Meszaros says. Construction will start immediately after the papers are signed, with a completion expected for early first quarter 2002, he says.

The company, which has built more than five million sf in and around Sky Harbor Airport, plans to develop the 70,000-sf Elwood Airport Center, a general industrial building with an office façade, and five dock-high and six grade-level bays in the rear. The space is divisible down to 5,000 sf.

“The high-end office façade along with the truckwells and grade-level doors in the back provide a highly functional layout,” says Steven Schwartz, Hewson’s senior vice president and director of real estate.

In addition to being just a three-minute trip to the airport, the site also is close to all major freeways bisecting the Valley. Hewson’s site is about a half-mile south of Sky Harbor Airport.

Will-Hayes Architects Ltd. is designing the building. The Phoenix office of Insignia/ESG, with brokers Ken McQueen and James Harper, is handling the leasing of the project.

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