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Jennifer D. Duell is on special assignment for GlobeSt.com.

PHOENIX-Sun State Builders has purchased 85 acres for $11.5 million to build another industrial park right across the street from its University Center development. The proposal calls for up to 3.7 million sf of build-to-suit product at the southeast corner of 16th Street and University Drive.

Sun State’s University Center has attracted tenants like Home Depot’s Internet distribution outlet. “It’s been a good project for us and so we went across the street and bought another 85 acres on the east side, south of University,” says Ed Forst, president of Tempe-based Sun State Builders.

The developer purchased both land tracts from Los Angeles-based CalMat Properties Co., a Vulcan Materials company. “Historically, this area has had strong industrial demand,” Forst says. “It’s one of the larger pockets for industrial activity and there’s not a lot of land left.”

Forst tells GlobeSt.com that the site–Sky Harbor Commerce Park–will be able to accommodate build-to-suit projects as small as 8,000 sf and as large as 400,000 sf. He says no companies have committed to the new park, but several have indicated interest.

Sun State Builders tapped John Werstler of CB Richard Ellis Inc. to market the build-to-suits, which will be available for sale or long-term lease. Werstler also brokered the land sales and heads up the leasing for University Center.

Forst estimates the buildings will cost from $40 per sf to $90 per sf depending on tenant requirements. “We have about 30 acres where we could deliver product immediately,” he says. The company needs to build an access road for the remaining acreage. He expects full build-out will take three to five years depending on the market demand.

“The industrial market in Phoenix remains strong because there is a shortage of product,” Forst says. “When it comes to expansion or moving to this area, a lot of businesses cannot find buildings that match their operating needs. If they are thinking ahead and have the time to plan a build-to-suit, we can carve a parcel for them.”

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