PHOENIX-Airgas West Inc., a supplier of industrial gases to hospitals, industrial plants and high-technology manufacturers, has bought a 1.5-acre lot for $390,500 inside the University Center. The all-cash deal enables the Radnor, PA-based company to break ground on a 12,000-sf distribution facility.

“What was key for this buyer-user is the central location that the University Center offers. They’re in a position where they can service the entire valley,” Tony Lydon, a senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial in Phoenix, tells about the purchase from SunState Builders Inc. of Phoenix. Located near the corner of University Drive and 14th Street, Airgas West plans to break ground on a $1.5-million distribution facility during the second quarter and open the doors for business by year’s end. The company has sold a smaller building along University Drive to help pay for the site.

The property’s dense zoning also proved valuable in the deal, adds Lydon, since Airgas West’s use requires more than most industrial users typically need. Airgas West requires a very low floor-area ratio. The project will include installation of several outdoor gas storage tanks.

Other users in the 34-acre University Center include the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles’ emission testing center. The park sits directly adjacent to the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado redevelopment zone, a 600-acre desert/river habitat area. The center, developed 20 years ago, brought additional phases out about two years ago. With some 40 million sf in the Sky Harbor submarket, industrial vacancies currently hover 12.5%.

Lydon and Gary Anderson of Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial, and Ed Jankowski of Hogan & Associates represented the buyer. SunState used an in-house representative to broker the sale.

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