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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-Following a 2.5-year search for a headquarters location, Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. has signed a 12-year lease for a two-building, 300,000-sf build-to-suit at Riverwalk Arizona. The pharma firm is the first corporate project for the $400-million, mixed-use development.

Medicis’ proposed two-building complex will sit at 7720 N. Dobson Rd., a 22.7-acre tract in the 187-acre Riverwalk Arizona. The headquarters will be constructed in two phases, with a 150,000-sf building scheduled to break ground within two months and come on line in first quarter 2008. The 150,000-sf second phase is being kept in reserve for the company’s future growth. Medicis currently leases 75,000 sf at 8125 N. Hayden Rd. in Scottsdale.

Larry Downey, senior director for Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona Inc. in Phoenix, says Medicis studied potential sites in northeast Phoenix and Scottsdale for months before determining that Riverwalk Arizona’s flexibility and location met its requirements. “What was interesting about this particular deal is that other potential developments at Riverwalk wouldn’t infringe on Medicis’ expansion,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “The developer is allowing us to get that first building up and then allowing us time to expand to the second building when necessary. We’re not pressured to hurry up and move or expand.”

Kurt Rosene, senior vice president of Riverwalk Arizona for the Chicago-based developer, Alter Group, says the development’s proximity to Medicis’ existing labor force and freeway access also impacted the final decision. “This is a mile away from their current headquarters,” he adds. “They’re in the middle of our site, adjacent to the freeway, with a mile of frontage and two diamond exchanges. It’s convenient and a good location for them.”

Rosene says the Medicis deal helped to confirm Alter Group’s decision to create Riverwalk Arizona, which has $75 million of projects planned or under development. “When we started developing this, we wanted to offer a class A environment with the assumption it would attract Fortune 100 companies,” he says. “The fact that Medicis chose this as a location for its main world headquarters validates what we’d hope would happen.”

Jerry Roberts, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Phoenix represented the Alter Group. The architect is Scottsdale-based PHArchitecture. The Weitz Co. Inc.’s Phoenix office is the general contractor.

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