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EVESHAM TWP., NJ-Opus East has started construction on Lake Center V, an 88,000-sf multi-tenant class A office building within Lake Center Executive Park in the Marlton section of this South Jersey township. The project is being done on spec, a rarity in the Garden State, where fewer than five speculative office projects are currently under way statewide.

Work on the building is being sparked by the fact that its twin, Lake Center IV, has hit the 80% occupancy mark. Opus East completed Lake Center IV, also on a spec basis, during the fall of 2004. Its lease-up got a major boost earlier just last month with the signing of IndyMac Bank for 47,121 sf. As reported by GlobeSt.com, the Pasadena, CA-based home financing company took the entire third and fourth floors of the building.

As far as Lake Center V, the timetable calls for shell construction to be completed by the summer of 2006, according to Bill Walters, director of real estate development for Opus East, which is based in Washington, DC and has a regional office in Philadelphia. The building, which will have floor plates ranging from 20,475 sf to 22,750 sf, will have its tenant finishing and fit out ready later in the year. Lake Center IV cost approximately $15 million, or $171 per sf to build, the Lake Center V is expected to cost somewhere in the same range.

Opus East bought the last 20-acre site within the larger Lake Center Executive Park in early 2003 and began construction of the first of the twin 88,000-sf buildings later that year. And with Lake Center IV nearing lease-up, Opus East is also planning to test the investment sales market with the building.

“There has been substantial demand for signature trophy office buildings by the publicly traded REITs,” says C. Craig Guers, senior vice president and general manager of Opus East. “Given that demand, we have elected to place that asset in play and proceed quickly with the development of Lake Center V.”

Opus East has also hired the same duo to market Lake Center V’s space that has been marketing Lake Center IV. Joseph M. Sklencar, Sr. and David P. Dolan, SVPs at Grubb & Ellis’ local office are handling the assignment. “Lake Center V is only the second mid-rise class A office space to be created in this region in many years,” Sklencar says. “Lake Center IV, of course, was the first in many years.”

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