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PHOENIX-Three Squaw Peak office buildings, totaling 431,435 sf, have sold to a California investment firm for $28 million, landing the buyer a value-add opportunity with a 55% occupancy. The purchase has sparked a high-priced improvement plan to bulk up the lease roll.

Newport Beach, CA-based Muller Co. bought the three-building Pointe Corporate Center complex from GMAC Mortgage Corp. of Horsham, PA. Financing was obtained from GE Commercial Finance of Stamford, CT.

Chris Krewson, an associate with CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Phoenix office, tells GlobeSt.com that the listing attracted 30 offers in a marketing period of less than a month. The buyer placed the highest bid, but still one that fell below the asking price, he says. Escrow lasted about 30 days.

Muller intends to reposition the property over the next 18 months as the Plaza at Squaw Peak. “They saw a lot of upside in coming in and putting in a lot of money in the project,” Krewson says. “We’ve leased out 25,000 sf since we closed.”

Built in the mid-1980s, the holding consists of a 113,000-sf building at 7600 N. 15th St.; 158,092-sf structure at 7600 N. 16th St., and 160,343-sf building at 7500 N. Dreamy Draw Dr., all two-story designs.

The property’s high vacancy is partially due to last year’s departure of Pegasus Solutions, a Dallas-based hotel reservations services company, which leased the majority of 7500 Dreamy Draw Dr. More recent leases were signed with Healthcare Depot taking 10,000 sf in the Dreamy Draw Drive building and Nature Conservancy signing for 5,000 sf at 7600 N. 16th St.

Rents hover around $18.50 for suites ranging from 1,500 sf to 75,000 sf. CBRE will lease the asset and Muller plans to manage it.

The Plaza at Squaw Peak is Muller’s third metro-area acquisition. The investor also owns the 86,656-sf Madison Square at 5343 N. 16th St., and 152,000-sf Lakeside Center at 11335 N. 28th Dr. Krewson, Mark Seale and Jennifer Bishop, all with CBRE brokered the buy side while GMAC used in-house representation.

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