PHOENIX-Nearly two years after it acquired the 244,651-sf One11 West Monroe, an Arizona investment group has sold it for twice the amount that it paid. The 18-story, class A building, originally slated for an office condominium conversion, has traded for $40 million to a San Diego-based investment group.

Biltmore Holdings LLC of Scottsdale bought the 1980s-constructed building at 111 W. Monroe St. and an additional two acres across the street for $20 million in April 2005 from a bank. “People thought they were out of their mind to pay $20 million for all of that,” says Steve Brabant, first vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Phoenix. The vacant land was not part of the latest trade, says the seller’s broker, who adds that Biltmore is looking at other options for the tract.

Brabant tells that Biltmore’s principals invested nearly $6 million to prepare the building for condo conversion, but then took another look at the asset and decided to sell it because of the hot market. “This was a classic timing play, accented by the transformation happening in Downtown Phoenix,” he says.

Brabant says the listing attracted multiple offers from institutional players and private investors regionally and nationally. BCL Inc. ended up purchasing the building because of price. “The buyer wanted a large asset in Phoenix, was aggressive about the price and willingness to put up a large deposit and close as quickly as possible,” Brabant says.

Brabant says the buyer underwrote the 47%-occuped building on a five-year hold. “I’d expect them to lease it up and sell it sooner than that,” he says, adding the low vacancy was due to the anticipated condo conversion that never happened.

The buyer, however, isn’t concerned about the occupancy figure, because the CBD’s overall vacancy rates are hovering 6%. “The average rents in the building were under $20 while the market is quoting $25 to $26 per sf,” Brabant explains.

Working with Brabant on the deal were CB Richard Ellis’ first vice presidents Glenn Smigiel, Bob Young and Charles Miscio along with vice president Rick Abraham. The leasing assignment has been handed to Miscio and Tim Watters, a CBRE senior associate.

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