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DENVER-Locally based EchoStar Communications Corp., the giant satellite dish TV company, has paid $40 million for the vacant campus in the Meridian International Business Park in Douglas County.The campus includes two buildings with just under 420,000 sf on 66 acres,with enough land for a total of 1.2 million sf.

The purchase removes the biggest block of contiguous office space along the southeast corridor, which recently has shown signs of improving.EchoStar will keep its headquarters building a few miles to the west in Littleton. The Merrill Lynch campus will accommodate future growth of the company, says spokesman Marc Lumpkin.

EchoStar was represented by Frederick Ross Co. brokers Phil Ruschmeyer and Nathan Johnson, while Merrill Lynch was represented by Mike Noon of Noon & Co.Last year, the Red Sea Group, a Dallas-based investment company whose parent is based in Israel, placed the campus under contract for $52.5 million, but that deal collapsed.

EchoStar employs 4,400 people locally and more than 15,000 people across the country. It will qualify for about $1 million in tax breaks from the county and the state.

Stephen Miller, VP and chief economist for the Southeast Business Partnership, tells GlobeSt.com that this is exactly the kind of deal the area wants to see. He notes that EchoStar has grown from a three-person operation in the mid-1980s to a Fortune 500 company.

Miller adds that in some cases, a company will simply play musical chairs, moving from one campus to another, which can result in one county’s gain and other’s loss. But in this case, EchoStar is keeping its current real estate holdings, and buying the Merrill Lynch campus for growth.

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