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PRESCOTT, AZ-In its first venture outside Southern California, Empire Commercial Real Estate will develop a mixed-use project on 100 acres near its sister company’s 3,200-lot, single-family development.

The Village at Quailwood, planned with 300,000 sf of retail space and 300 apartments, has a price tag of $65 million, James Brooks, president of Ontario, CA-based Empire Commercial, tells GlobeSt.com. “This project dovetails with the residential development that our sister company, Empire Land of Arizona, is doing,” he says.

The Village at Quailwood will break ground in first quarter 2006 at the intersection of US Highway 69 and Bradshaw Mountain Road. The $15-million first phase will be a 100,000-sf, grocery-anchored center. “We hope to be able to announce the anchor within 90 days,” Brooks says, adding there is a lot of interest although no inline space has been leased. Similar inline space in the submarket leases for $21 per sf.

“We hope to finish up the first phase by the end of 2006 and we’ll get started on phase two during the second or third quarter,” Brooks says. Empire Commercial has mapped out a 250,000-sf to 300,000-sf power center for phase two. “We’re envisioning retailers like Home Depot, Costco. … It will be all big boxes,” he says.

The third and last phase, set to break ground in fourth quarter 2006, will consist of a 300-unit, class A, multifamily development on 15 acres. “Multifamily hasn’t done all that well in the market, but were started to see a trend that there is demand,” Brooks explains.

Empire Commercial, known in Southern California’s Inland Empire for office, retail and multifamily developments, purchased the Arizona acreage from a local family just a few months ago. The company has been working with the city and Forma land planners in Irvine, CA on the land planning. A general contractor has not been selected.

“There is just exploding growth in Prescott,” Brooks says. “It mirrors the growth that the Inland Empire experienced with housing growth and then retail and services came in and backfilled the need that the housing created.”

According to Brooks, Empire Commercial hopes to do more projects in Arizona. “We’re very comfortable about going into Arizona,” he says. “Our sister company, which has been doing business in the state for more than 10 years, thoroughly understands the market and the politics. We think Arizona is going to be the next wave of growth for the company.”

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