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PHOENIX-After several months of searching and two unsuccessful acquisition attempts, Portland, OR-based ScanlanKemperBard Cos. has entered the Arizona office market by stepping in with a $17-million offer for Lakeside Center, which had lost two other contracts on the road to a closing.

The six-building, 152,600-sf office property, located at 11221-11225 N. 28th Dr. in the Metrocenter submarket, was purchased from Laguna Hills, CA-based Muller Co. “We like the employment and population growth in Phoenix,” SKB principal Todd Gooding says about the 12-year-old development. “It’s a logical place to continue our growth given our presence in all other major metro areas in the West.”

Gooding says that the firm, which invests on behalf of high net-worth individuals and family trusts, likes the price of assets in Phoenix. “Prices are about 25 to 50 basis points higher in Phoenix than in California, Oregon and Washington,” he explains. He says SKB is actively searching for other acquisitions in the Valley and recently put a $47-million shopping center portfolio under contract.

Situated on 8.5 acres adjacent to Lake Biltmore, Lakeside Center is a garden-style office property that is 90% leased. “This is a solid class B building in a class A location,” Gooding tells GlobeSt.com.

SKB has no plans to make any capital investments in the asset although the firm will focus on improving its occupancy. “We have a few holes that we need to fill up,” Gooding says.

Michael Sayre of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona Inc., who along with Chris Toci, represented Muller had the holding on the market six months, losing two contracts before SKB stepped up to the plate. Toci says SKB assumed a “favorable” in-place loan with the Horsham, PA-based GMAC Commercial Mortgage, which was subsequently sold to a CMBS pool.

Sayre, who will lease Lakeside Center, says Muller decided to end a four-year hold because the development was now stabilized with very little short-term lease roll. The lead tenants are NextStudent, a local student-loan operation, and Matrix Absence Management.

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