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CHANDLER, AZ-Mesa developer Michael Pollack knew the time was right to dive back into ground-up development. Until recently a major redeveloper of shopping centers, the businessman has just started the first phase to a 30-acre that could bring up to 313,000 sf of office, industrial, showroom and retail space.

“I’ve always said that when it gets to the point when it costs me to buy what I can develop for the same money, then I’m going to go ground up,” Pollack, president of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, tells GlobeSt.com. He’s still fine-tuning the costs, but knows build-out will easily surpass $10 million.

Work is underway on Pollack Business Park North, a 10-acre first phase at the northeast corner of Arizona Avenue and Elliott Road. Phase I, estimated at $6.5 million, will deliver with 103,000 sf in five single-story buildings ranging from 11,000 sf to 22,500 sf. About half of the first two buildings has been pre-leased: 6,000 sf to a cabinet company; 4,000 sf to an interior design center; and 10,000 sf to a swimming pool contractor. Rent will average $9 per sf triple net. Delivery is set for late October.

“I broke ground completely on spec and leased half of the first two buildings within three days,” Pollack says. Despite the quick pre-leasing, Pollack Business Park North has been a slow burn. Pollack purchased the land 4.5 years ago, but decided to sit on it until market conditions were favorable for new development.

The combination of office, industrial, showroom and retail space all in a Mediterranean villa-style setting is a first for Arizona, says Pollack. Architectural features hinge on large columns and tile roofs. Randall Ewers & Associates Architects of Phoenix designed the project. Pollack is as general contractor and project marketer.

“It’s way over the top for what you’d normally see in that type of a product,” Pollack says. “I’ve always been of the mind that we’re known for redevelopment. This is our first major project as developers in a long time so I decided that we’ve got to do it with something that’s absolutely spectacular.”

With the first phase now underway, Pollack already is courting potential users for a seven-acre second phase, which could enter permitting in 30 to 90 days. At least two banks have indicated strong interest in the two-acre hard corner. Phase II will most likely feature 70,000 sf of combination office, office-industrial and retail space.

Pollack’s build-out plan calls for a Pollack Business Park South on 13 acres to the south of the land now under construction. His best-guess is 140,000 sf of some type will rise, but most likely not until 2006, he says.

At the intersection’s northwest corner is Pollack Plaza, a 10-year-old, fully occupied 70,000-sf retail center. With three of four corners under his name, Pollack foresees nothing but good things to come for Chandler’s gateway. “With the majority of all our projects, if they’ve been in our inventory for any time, we run high occupancy across the board,” he says.

Pollack has not ruled out further redevelopment in Arizona and California. The developer has decided to dissolve its last holding in Las Vegas, where fighting for a piece of the market share has become too competitive, he says. He has two retail centers in Phoenix totaling 220,000 sf currently in escrow and 1.5 million sf of industrial space at 98% occupancy in Silicon Valley. All told, some 100 commercial and industrial properties totaling four million sf fall under the Pollack name.

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