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CASA GRANDE, AZ-One of the state’s largest RV parks has changed hands in a $9.4-million transaction between a Bethesda, MD-based buyer and the LP owner for the past seven years.

Diversified Investments, headed by CEO Barry Hasse spent $7.5 million for the 581-space first phase of Fiesta Grande RV Resort and about $1.9 million for the 186-space second phase. The first phase’s sale price was based on the income per space, says Jon Harrison, a broker in the Tucson office of Marcus & Millichap, who represented the seller, Fiesta Grande LP, headed by Joe O’Neal. The second phase, bringing roughly $10,000 per space, is just two years old and has fewer permanent occupants.

The Casa Grande park is the seventh RV park in Arizona for Diversified Investments, which owns more than 20 in the Sunbelt. Casa Grande is located about 30 miles south of Phoenix. Fiesta Grande RV Resort is situated at 1511 E. Florence Blvd., the town’s main street. The park is in the business district and just a few blocks from Wal-Mart.

“He likes this market, he feels that it’s a very good market with good upside,” says Rod Nice, a broker in the Phoenix office of Nice Realty, who represented Diversified Investments and Hasse. “He likes the Sunbelt, Arizona in particular.”

Diversified Investments believes it can fill many of the 186 spaces in the second phase that haven’t been in as much demand as in the past, Nice says. RV parks and mobile home parks in the Valley, most of which are in the East Valley and Apache Junction, have seen demand drop in the past few years, Harrison tells GlobeSt.com. “The season has been getting shorter and shorter in the past few years,” he says.

As recently as four years ago, RV parks were full from January through April and half full in December and May, but now many are only full the first three months of the year and maybe a few weeks in December and May. “Everybody has been trying to figure out what has been going on with RVers,” Harrison says.

Market analysts point to warm winters back East, higher gas prices and big city problems in the Valley as the reasons why the mostly retirement crowd has been smaller. Harrison also believes that the spate of new RV parks–not just in the East Valley, but in Casa Grande, Tucson and other rural cities–has allowed RVers to jump from park to park. “There are a lot more than there used to be,” he says. “RVers are just checking out a lot of the new resorts.”

RVers have also been attracted to the Casa Grande area because it offers the same amenities as Apache Junction in the East Valley, no traffic problems or bad air. It’s also as close as Apache Junction to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Parks outside the city historically are cheaper. Annual lease for a space is Apache Junction is $3,000, while Fiesta Grande is about $2,100 a year.

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