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MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ-Scottsdale-based Harvard Investments Inc. has just spent $27 million for 2,080 acres near the cities of Belmont and Buckeye in western Maricopa County. The developer plans to set aside 100 acres to develop roughly 1.1 million sf of commercial space.

“There’s a finite supply of land here and there’s an enormous demand for entitled land,” says Douglas Zuber, managing partner and vice president of U.S. Operations for Harvard Investments. He tells GlobeSt.com that the land, located near 339th Avenue and Camelback Road, was never officially on the market, but rather word got out the Eugene Freedman Family LP of Chicago was ready to part it. Phoenix-based Land Advisors Organization brokered the cash transaction.

Zuber expects the development master plan will garner county officials’ approvals by the fourth quarter. Scottsdale-based Swaback Partners has been contracted to design the future community. “Once we’ve locked in our homebuilders, we’ll start working on the commercial,” Zuber says, adding the plan will include a mix of retail, office, light industrial and multifamily product. He says commercial development most likely won’t start until 2008 or2009 or “at least until the rooftops are there.”

Harvard Investments, which is the US investment and development arm for the Canada-based Hill Cos., plans to create a master-planned community that also includes educational uses and ample open space. When it comes to development, Harvard Investments prefers to partner with other developers rather than tackling projects solo, Zuber says.

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