PHOENIX-The Shidler Group’s Pacific Office Properties Trust has outplayed a tough field of competitors with a $66.25-million bid for a 31-story landmark in the Copper Square District. The CBD coup for the US Bank Center comes with built-in upside from a 25% vacancy in an upbeat environment.

“Five years ago, it was pretty quiet in Downtown Phoenix,” says Matt Root, partner in the San Diego-based Shidler Group. “Now, we’re seeing a more vibrant city. It’s the best of the hot growth markets.” He tells that the Shidler REIT bested the New York City-based JPMorgan and Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. of Fort Worth plus a couple private investors in the final face-off for the 371,727-sf high rise at 101 N. First Ave. and its seven-story, 943-space parking garage with 12,765 sf of retail at 21 W. Van Buren St., less than a block’s walk.

Root says joint venture sellers Angelo Gordon & Co. of New York City and Amerimar Enterprises Inc. of Philadelphia spent nearly six years and $20 million to reposition the high rise, buying into a value-add deal as the two lead tenants were heading out the door. In the past 18 months, the JV has leased 240,000 sf of the class A space. “We’re going to continue to build on that momentum,” Root says, adding that Trammell Crow Co.’s John Bonnell and team are taking over leasing and management. “The strategy right now is we’re not going to be anxious to lease up space. Each and every deal going forward is going to complement our existing tenants.” Shidler is starting the play with three full floors to fill.

In addition to US Bank, other top space-takers are Valley Metro Rail, ACS State & Local Solutions, Paragon Structural Design and the law firm of Campbell, Yost, Clare & Norell. Root says the building’s roster, on average, has leases with seven years left on terms and a 15% annual roll for the first few years.

Shidler’s second metro purchase is the state’s second tallest structure. Root says the investment group is eyeing a five- to seven-year hold for the 30-year-old building, which was financed through Credit Suisse First Boston.

Sean Sullivan with Eastdil Secured in New York City represented the joint venture sellers of record, Bankam LLC and 101 North First Parking LLC. Root bargained the buy side, which bought City Square in the Central Avenue corridor about a year ago.

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