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PHOENIX-In its second Valley acquisition in six months, La Jolla, CA-based Equus Realty Advisors has taken ownership of a 92,249-sf downtown office project to fulfill a goal to buy $50 million of prime Phoenix real estate in the next few years.

“Equus is very bullish on downtown, downtown North and Midtown Phoenix,” said Chad Carpenter, Equus’ president and CEO. “We would like to acquire at least another $50 million of office buildings is these submarkets with our exchange equity.”

The recent $5-million purchase of 202 E. Earll Dr. from SOFI Fund IV, an opportunity fund associated with Starwood Capital Group, is part of the company’s push to leverage $30 million of exchange equity with up to $100 million in acquisitions before the end of the third quarter. Just six months ago, the company acquired the 240,000-sf Valley Commerce Center, located at 4745 and 4747 N. 7th St., in a $15.8-million deal with the same seller.

The firm’s latest purchase, its sixth holding in Phoenix, was 78% occupied at the time of sale. Armed with an aggressive leasing strategy and lease rates of $16.50 per sf, Equus chairman David Bourne tells GlobeSt.com that he expects the building to be fully leased within a year.

Equus also plans to use that same aggressive tact in acquiring other “distressed” Phoenix properties, Bourne said. “Phoenix is a very attractive market,” he noted. “Long term, it has great fundamentals with population growth and a history of job growth. We believe in the medium to long term, this market is going to come back.” Bourne said the firm will be seeking out other office, research and development and industrial properties in the $5 million and up price range, seeded with opportunity so it can work its repositioning magic.

Representing the Greenwich, CT-based Starwood in the latest acquisition was Rob Rizzi of New York City-based Broad Street Advisors. The buyer was self-represented in the deal.

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