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PHOENIX-After a nine-month worldwide research for development sites, the Redwood Group of New Zealand has tapped Greater Phoenix for its first US development. The plan is to break ground in early 2007 on a $30-million condominium project in Central Phoenix.

The 84-unit project, dubbed O4 City Condos, will go up on three acres at 3500 N. 4th Ave. The estimated construction time is 14 months. “The immediate goal is a certain number of presales,” says Andrew Crosby, vice president with Redwood Group’s US team. He says two units have been sold and there is interest in several others.

The condos are carrying $350,000 to $500,000 tags. Locally based Todd Associates is the architect. ADA Inc. of Scottsdale will be the general contractor.

Redwood Group also recently acquired another three acres in Central Phoenix. The plan is to build a 180-unit, high-density project with a commercial building and retail component. The commercial structure will rise before the multifamily, according to Crosby, who says construction could launch later next year.

Redwood’s exhaustive search yielded Phoenix as a good site for a couple of reasons. “One of the reasons we’re drawn to Phoenix is because it displayed many of the same characteristics of Auckland,” Crosby tells GlobeSt.com. “There were luxury high-rises, luxury condominiums and single-family housing, with not a whole lot in the middle.”

Additionally, Crosby sees Phoenix as an up-and-coming area with strong job growth and prospects, much like Auckland. He says he’s on the hunt for primarily infill sites to deliver product that will lure more residents into the urban core.

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