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PHOENIX-A 32,162-sf government building, designed to evoke the agency that it sheltered, has found a new owner in a Gilbert couple who shelled out $3.6 million for the property and its nine-year government lease.

Cornel and Maria Isfan scooped up the building, home to the US Department of Agriculture’s Tonto National Forest offices, in a deal with seller, locally based Paul Davis/24th St. Partners. Jenifer Lunt, with CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s local office, says the 2324 E. McDowell Rd. property in central Phoenix, which included an additional 1.4 acres of frontage on 24th Street and McDowell Road, was on the market about a year at a combined price of $4.2 million. But, the couple opted to purchase only the building, paying $77,000 below the original asking price of about $3.7 million. “This fit their parameters,” Lunt says of the buyers, who exchanged a local apartment building for the government offices.

Distinctively designed with a wood-panel exterior that evokes its use by the forest headquarters, the property is an unusual addition to the city’s landscape where buildings primarily feature stucco exteriors. Set on about 2.2 acres, the single-story office and warehouse was constructed in 1984 as a build-to-suit for the US Department of Agriculture. The building is used as the administrative offices and headquarters for Tonto National Forest under a long-term lease through 2012 with the General Services Administration. The property rents for a total of $525,000 per year.

Lunt, along with Steve Fernandez, also with CB Richard Ellis’ local office, negotiated the transaction on behalf of the seller. The buyers were represented by Cat Isfan of First USA Realty in Phoenix.

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