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BLAINE, MN-CSM Corporation is in the planning stages for an 850,000-sf business park in the city.

The Lexington Preserve Business Park will be developed on 80 acres at the northwest intersection of I-35W and Lexington Avenue NE. Bloomington, MN-based CSM recently acquired 140 acres there from Alza Corp., a pharmaceutical company acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2001. CSM paid $2.8 million for the land, of which just the 80 acres is buildable.

Jim DePietro and John Ryden of CB Richard Ellis have been retained to lease speculative facilities and attract design build prospects. Ryden tells GlobeSt.com that the land, which is already zoned for a planned business development, was at one point planned as Alza Corp.’s corporate headquarters. He says the park could end up being all office space or could include some distribution product. Plans are now being completed for the roads that will traverse the site while negotiations continue with the local watershed district regarding the classification of some wetlands on the site, says Ryden.

The park is currently conceived as nine-buildings ranging in size from 60,000 sf to 200,000 sf. Site work is expected to get under way next spring with development of a 140,000-sf speculative building that will be ready for occupancy by the end of the summer. The cost of shell construction is estimated at between $30- and $35 per sf.

“The best case scenario is that the first phase would be a combination of design-build and speculative construction,” says Ryden. “We’re talking to a couple of build-to-suit users.”

The site is four miles north of the next significant business park, right on the freeway and in a big growth area, says Ryden. “We need the market to come around and generate more leasing activity to really make it go,” he says. “Today there are not a lot of prospects lined up, but we think when the market turns it will be a high-demand location.”

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