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MESA, AZ-The $850-million BPG Investment Partnership VIII LP has snagged the 309,983-sf Financial Plaza as its first asset. In addition to paying $57.75 million for the class A office building, the fund will plow an additional $3 million into upgrading the building.

Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. last week announced the asset’s sale, but withheld the buyer’s name. It took longer than usual to nail down the information due to the holiday week.

Andrew White, senior vice president and western regional manager for Philadelphia-based BPG Properties Inc., says the first step will be to rehab the 1201 S. Alma School Rd. building. Work will be completed within six months on lobbies, common areas, lighting and ceilings. The goal is to be ready to market the 77%-leased building to tenants by January 2008, he adds.

“This was built in the 1980s and not much has been done by previous owners to bring it to the current day,” White tells GlobeSt.com. “We think it’s a class A, icon building. Almost everyone you talk to knows this building because it’s the only class A, high rise in Mesa.”

White says Financial Plaza is underwritten for a five-year hold. Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Phoenix office won the leasing contract while CB Richard Ellis’ local staff got the management oversight.

White says Financial Plaza has tremendous upside potential, particularly with its rents. “If you look at competing properties in the area, two- and three-story low rise, and not as high quality, they’re getting rents that are more consistent with the market,” he says. “We believe once we spend the money on upgrades, we’ll do better than that.” And, he adds, the asset’s in-place rents currently are below market.

Crescent had acquired the asset in January 2006 from AmeriVest Properties Inc. in Denver. Christopher Toci with Cushman & Wakefield of Phoenix Inc. brokered the original sale and the pass to the BPG fund.

It’s been several years since BPG Properties invested in the Phoenix metro. Its previous investments, though, were strictly multifamily so Financial Plaza is its first office buy in the region. White says the West is especially important to BPG’s eighth fund, meaning more local acquisitions could be coming in the near future. “We have a billion to spend there,” he adds. “We’ll definitely continue looking in Phoenix and areas around it.”

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