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PHOENIX-Construction will begin in January on a $100-million office complex in Downtown Phoenix that will allow Maricopa County to consolidate all of its employees into one place. The Plaza de Maricopa will be a 23-story, 700,000-sf high-rise positioned between 4th and 7th avenues just south of Washington Street.

Completion, anticipated for early 2004, will house thousands of Maricopa County employees now working in at least 11 rented buildings in the Downtown and surrounding area. The office tower design will consist of a three-level wing that will house supervisor offices and staff and a single-story wing at grade level for public offices. A surrounding plaza will be the shape of Maricopa County and will include cultural and historical elements from each of the cities within its bounds.

The county has hired Phoenix-based Langdon Wilson as the architect and Phoenix-based McCarthy Building Co. as the general contractor. The Plaza de Maricopa is going up in an area known as the Capital Mall area. The state capital is approximately a half mile to the west and other state buildings line the street.

“It’s going to be architecturally significant,” Joe Lauer, McCarthy’s vice president of client services, tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s more than an office building, it’s a cultural facility. The plaza is meant to mimic the geography and land uses of the county. It’s quite exciting.”

Maricopa County selected McCarthy under a year-old law that allows for a public project to be awarded on performance rather than just bid amount. The project is one of the first major office developments secured under the new bid procedure. “It really gives the building community a chance to demonstrate the availability of their talent,” Lauer says. “The public entity can choose who is most available and who can perform the best.” Lauer expects that fewer changes and less chance of exceeding the budget because McCarthy is providing the architects information about design options.

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