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GILBERT, AZ-With plans of consolidating its East Valley operations, the Arizona Department of Economic Security has closed a deal for an 80,000-sf build-to-suit in the El Dorado Tech Center. The three-building, class A complex has a price tag of less than $10 million, according to an industry source familiar with the project.

Department officials inked a five-year lease for $7.2 million with Minneapolis-based developer, CSM Equities LLC. The facility will be located at the northwest corner of Colorado Street and Guadalupe Road.

“The process to find space to consolidate started about two years ago,” says Steve Gerhard, a vice president with CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Phoenix office. Teaming with CBRE’s Ashley Brooks, Gerhard represented the department in the negotiations.

“Our initial goal was to find an existing building,” Gerhard tells GlobeSt.com. “But, as the space requirement became larger, it was more difficult to find existing space and a built-to-suit became the only option.”

According to Gerhard, the department’s decision was location driven. It now occupies 80,000 sf in six offices across the Valley, including one in nearby Mesa for the attorney general’s staff. “They wanted a location with accessibility and wanted to move the attorney general’s office closer to the courthouse,” he explains.

CSM Equities, which was represented by Mark Wilcke in NAI Horizon’s Phoenix office, will start construction on the complex in the fourth quarter. Occupancy is planned for third quarter 2006.

Gerhard says one reason department officials decided to move forward with a build-to-suit was CSM Equities’ experience in dealing with governmental agencies. In addition, the developer and future building owner was comfortable with a short-term lease. “Even though the lease is only for five-years–the state cannot commit to a longer term–they are looking at this as a long-term location,” he says.

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