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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-In one of the largest commercial projects to be built on Native American soil, a Chicago-based developer is set to begin construction early next year on a $400-million project on the Salt River Indian Reservation that will add two million sf of office and retail space to the Valley’s landscape.

Kurt Rosene, senior vice president with the Alter Group, tells GlobeSt.com that his firm currently is in negotiations with six large retail chains and about eight office users to locate on the 186-acre site adjacent to the Loop 101 freeway. “We’re looking at breaking ground in early 2004 and delivering product by the end of the year,” he said, noting that the project would include about 1.5 million sf of office space along with a mix of about 500,000 sf of high-end boutiques, restaurants and an entertainment complex that could include a cinema and possibly an amphitheater.

Located between the Scottsdale Pavilions shopping center and the Talking Stick Golf Course, the site is one of the few remaining developable parcels along the Loop 101. The Alter Group signed a 65-year lease on the property with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community this week after eight years of negotiating with tribal members. The extended negotiations were due, in large part, to the extensive number of land owners, Rosene said. “There were well over 170 owners of the parcel and all of those people had to come together to agree to lease the land,” he said.

The project, which is expected to take about 10 years to complete, will bring about 15,000 jobs to the reservation, which has a population of about 5,000. Although an architect and builder has yet to be selected, Rosene said the development will have a “modern look to it,” but will be built using materials, plantings and colors indigenous to the desert.

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