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TOLLESON, AZ-A Dallas-based developer has purchased a parcel in the Phoenix suburb of Tolleson where the company plans to build a 285,000-sf manufacturing plant to make plastic Coca-Cola bottles.

Centex Investment Co. LLC has spent $1.2 million for 20 acres near the northeast corner of 99th Avenue and Buckeye Road. The development company plans to start construction immediately on a build-to-suit for Western Container, one of the largest producers of plastic bottles in the country. The plant’s estimated development cost exceeds $15 million.

The facility will manufacture recyclable plastic bottles for Coca-Cola products. Western Container has signed a 10-year lease agreement and plans to occupy the building in June 2002. The company will rev up production with a crew of 110 and eventually have a 150-member workforce. “Significant capital investment like this is valuable not only to Tolleson, but to the region,” says Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Tolleson is a six-square mile suburb surrounded by Phoenix. The parcel is two miles south of Interstate 10 and the exchange for the Agua Fria Freeway section of Loop 101. It also is near the Union-Southern Pacific Railroad line.Tolleson and much of the rest of western Phoenix, have become a haven for large manufacturing and distribution buildings. Relatively cheap land, easy freeway access, rail spurs and a convenient location for west coast distribution make it highly attractive.

The area has become overbuilt this year, with the sluggish economy slowing the absorption pace. During the second quarter, the southwest Phoenix area, which includes Tolleson, had a net negative absorption of more than 1.2 million sf. The vacancy rate has climbed to 12.6% for industrial space, compared to an overall vacancy rate of 7.2%, and isn’t likely to drop anytime soon. More than three million sf currently is under construction, most of the projects breaking ground before the economic downturn.

The Phoenix office of CB Richard Ellis, with Pat Feeney, Joe Porter and Dan Calihan, represented Centex in the purchase. Don MacWilliam and Payson MacWilliam, both of the Phoenix office of Insignia/ESG acted for seller, Tolleson Investment Properties LP of Phoenix.

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