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PHOENIX-California REIT Equastone has added to its five-property Phoenix portfolio–and is moving toward more aggressive purchases in the coming year–with the $7-million acquisition of the 87,000-sf Raven Corporate Center.

The single-story office building at 3540 E. Baseline Rd. was completed in 2001 by the Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc.’s local division. “The property is virtually brand new,” Chad Carpenter, CEO for the La Jolla, CA-based Equastone, tells GlobeSt.com. “Thirty percent is occupied, the rest is shell.”

Carpenter says the initial plan was to convert Raven Corporate Center into office condos. “We started off with the condo idea,” he says, “but what we found out was that leasing activity had picked up in the area so much for general office space, that seemed the way to go.” He says the typical tenant is an end user with customers in the submarket. “This could include a retail showroom for local homebuilders, doctors wanting to serve the community,” he says. “There’s a residential brokerage company in there right now.”

Carpenter says Equastone has four strategies for the property: retail showroom, office lease, office condos and “if someone wants to buy it and move in, that’s great, too,” he adds.Tom Jacobs, Blake Hastings and Brian Kocur with Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial LLC’s Phoenix office will handle leasing and any condo sales. Jacobs and Hastings represented Equastone and Ryan Cos. in the exchange.

The transaction is part of Equastone’s further immersion into the Phoenix market. “We like the area,” Carpenter says, “and we’re planning on allocating $150 million minimum on acquisitions in Phoenix during 2006.”

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