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GOODYEAR, AZ-To kick off a $175-million investment goal in Phoenix, Liberty Property Trust has purchased 115 acres to develop roughly 1.8 million sf of industrial product. Two additional projects are under contract, with expected closings in March.

“It’s a very high priority for our company to get established here,” says John DiVall, Liberty Property’s vice president and city manager. DiVall, has been tapped to lead the new Phoenix office for the Malvern, PA-based investment group.

Although William P. Hankowsky, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, has set the financial goal, DiVall says “my job is to hopefully exceed that.” The team is looking for land to buy and existing office, office flex and warehouse projects.

Liberty Property came into the area about two years ago to do a 123,000-sf build-to-suit for Vanguard Group Inc. at 8501 E. Raintree Dr. in Scottsdale. Now, it’s staking a much larger claim, recently paying $16.7 million to ViaWest Properties LLC for 115 acres in Goodyear.

DiVall says ground will break in early summer on the as-yet unnamed spec project, beginning with two with about 730,000 sf. The goal is to have the buildings at Cotton Lane and Camelback Road, near Interstate 10 and Loop 303, open for business by the end of the year.

“The other two will be market-dependent,” DiVall tells GlobeSt.com. He adds that the entire project will consist of five or six buildings, with an overall build-out time of three to five years.

Advisers Mark Phillips and Josh Holmes with the Phoenix office of Sperry Van Ness represented Liberty Property Trust in the land deal. Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial LLC senior vice president Tony Lydon and senior associate Gary Anderson were on hand for the seller.

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