(For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

PHOENIX-SmithCypress Partners has acquired 24 acres from a local private seller in its first area land play. The southwestern parcel will be developed into South Mountain Crossing, a $45-million, 240,000-sf retail development.

Construction is slated to begin at Southern and 35th avenues in December, with completion anticipated for late 2007. An 81,200-sf lease for an as-yet unidentified anchor is in hand and additional space has been preleased for a branch of US Bancorp, Wendy’s restaurant and Verizon Wireless store.

South Mountain Crossing is the first development for SmithCypress Partners, a joint venture between Dallas Cowboys football player-turned businessman Emmitt Smith and Cypress Equities, an affiliate of Dallas-based Staubach Co. “Cypress is already doing several projects in Phoenix, but this is the first one we’re working on with Emmitt in the area,” says Dave Cheatham, executive vice president and managing principal with Cypress Equities’ Phoenix office. He adds that the joint venture, of which Smith is president, is working on two other deals in the West and is aggressively searching for more opportunities.

“Most of what we do will likely be ground-up, but we’ll also look at the right type of value-add deal,” Cheatham tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ll look at redevelopments as well.”

Darren Pitts of Staubach Retail’s Phoenix office represented SmithCypress in the land transaction while Randy Titzck with Hogan & Associates Inc. of Scottsdale, AZ brokered the deal for the seller. Michael Clark with Staubach Retail is preleasing the development.

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