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POMPANO BEACH, FL-Two major developers have completed a joint-venture purchase of 12.5 acres of land here where they intend to develop 180,000 sf to 200,000 sf of top-of-the-line industrial space.Paul Jankowski of Sterling Developers Inc. and Sam Butters of Fort Lauderdale Business Centers bought the land from Barnsley Investments Inc. The property is located on Wiles Road at Crystal Lake.The purchase demonstrates the scarcity of developable land in the area, as the new owners must fill the entire lake property with 3 to 3.5 feet of clean fill to get the land to Wiles Road level before they can develop the land, says Jeffrey Scott, senior vice president of brokerage for Brenner Real Estate Group, based in Fort Lauderdale. Scott represented the buyers in the transaction. Jan Stolin of Levy Realty represented Barnsley Investments.”It is now economically viable in money and time to fill in lakes,” he says. “You could buy land 15 years ago for $3 a sf or $3.50 a sf, and everybody thought that was ridiculous.” During the savings and loan crash, some property in foreclosure went for $1.50 a sf. “Now, all of a sudden, you can’t find anymore land.”With the property at 544,500 sf, it could cost more than half a million dollars just for fill, Scott says. Then developers have to build the infrastructure–the roads, water, sewer, fire hydrants, he notes. “You have a year’s worth of work before you can start building,” he says.The owners plan to develop build-to-suit and spec projects, “top-of-the-line buildings with tilt-wall construction,” according to Scott. “You might get some corporate headquarters with offices.”This land was attractive for a couple of reasons, according to Scott. “No. 1, it a great geographic location. No. 2, here’s some land that you can acquire and bring online.”Butters, of Fort Lauderdale, has a large South Florida portfolio that includes the Fort Lauderdale Commerce Center. Sterling Developers, based in Michigan, also has a large South Florida presence. Both develop and own flex office, office and warehouse/distribution facilities, and own more than 2.5 million sf combined.

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