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PERRIS, CA-Ridge Property Trust of Chicago has acquired 187 acres for a four-million-sf industrial project that will add to what are already extensive Inland Empire holdings for the REIT. The new project will be called Perris Ridge Commerce Center and will be built in two phases comprising four buildings.

The new site is at the intersection of I-215 Freeway and the Ramona Expressway, about four miles south of another Ridge development, called Centerpointe Business Park, for which the Chicago-based company broke ground in July. The first phase of the new development, called Perris Ridge Commerce Center I, will consist of two buildings, one measuring 1.3 million sf and the other 600,000 sf.

The second phase, Perris Ridge Commerce Center II, will be developed adjacent to the first phase and will feature two buildings measuring 1.25 million sf and 780,000 sf. Dennis Rice, president of Ridge Property Trust, says the company chose the site for its location along the I-215, which provides access to Ontario International Airport, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego.

Rice points out that his company’s new project site lies in the eastern portion of the Inland Empire, where much recent development has been migrating lately as a result of continued growth in the region and the shortage of affordable, large parcels of land in the western portion of the Inland Empire. “The time to find affordable, large parcels of land in the Los Angeles Basin and the Inland Empire West has come and gone,” he says.

According to Rice the strategy at Ridge is to capitalize on the Inland Empire East for its affordable land and a deep labor pool. Tesco, Walgreens, and Lowe’s have recently chosen the area for the availability of large parcels of land and “They certainly will not be the last major names to take advantage of what the region has to offer,” he comments.

Ridge plans on breaking ground on the first building of the Perris project within the next six months once the entitlement process is complete. The first building should be ready for occupancy by the third quarter of 2007 and the entire project completed by the end of 2008.

Ridge purchased the 98 acres of land from the Coudures family through Jim Panting, president of Commercial Realty Advisors, an Ontario-based broker. Ridge originally purchased 89 acres for Phase I of the project in May 2005.

Ridge is developing $350 million of projects on more than 350 acres of property in Moreno Valley and Perris. The Centerpointe project in Moreno Valley that it broke ground on in July is a $150 million project on 162 acres. It will comprise more than three million sf of industrial space.

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