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RIVERSIDE, CA-Riverside Commercial Investors and the Magnon Cos. have slated construction this week on two new office developments in the fast-growing Hunter Park area of town that will eventually bring nearly 428,000 sf of new space to this city. RCI will kick off the 50,000-sf Phase I of a 350,000-sf development called the Grove this week and Magnon will start a 77,000-sf project called Spruce Tower. The Grove, the city’s largest new office campus, will be a seven-building development on Iowa Avenue, according to Vindar Batoosingh and Philip Woodford of the Ontario office of CB Richard Ellis, who represent RCI in the leasing of the property. Subsequent phases of the project, which is located at the northeast corner of Iowa and Marlborough avenues, are expected to break ground later this year, with completion of the project planned for 2007. RCI is partnering on the project with developer Jim Rountree. HPA Architects is designing the Grove, which is being built by Fullmer Construction. Rufus Barkley, RCI partner, calls the development site “the only piece of land left on Iowa Avenue, “which is widely considered to be the heart of Riverside’s business district as a result of its proximity to the UC Riverside Research Park and its accessibility to the I-60 and I-215 freeways. RCI intends to maintain ownership of the development for the long term, says Barkley who is creating the project along with partner Darrell Butler. Brokers say the Grove will serve as the linchpin of the area, connecting existing office buildings located along the freeway with the UCR Research Park area to form a more cohesive office environment in Hunter Park. The Grove will offer one of the highest parking ratios in the area of 5.2 cars per 1,000 sf of office space. Spruce Tower will be a five-story, 77,660-sf class A building at 2245 Iowa Ave., on the northwest corner of Spruce and Iowa avenues in Hunter Park, with Batoosingh and Woodford as the listing agents for the project. The building is expected to be completed in early 2006 and will offer parking at a ratio of four stalls per 1,000 sf of office space. The development site was a former orchard and single-family residence, both of which were removed in order to build the office tower. Corporate neighbors surrounding the property include Wells Fargo, Nextel, State Farm, KGGI, UPS, numerous legal firms; as well as many research and technology companies who have moved into the Hunter Park area in recent years. The two new projects are evidence of the strength of the area’s office market, according to Batoosingh, who points out that office vacancies in Riverside are generally low and lease rates are increasing, which is driving speculative and build-to-suit development.

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