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CASA GRANDE, AZ-Evergreen Development and Diamond Ventures in Tucson have joined forces to begin commercial retail projects in Villago, a 1,700-acre master-planned community. The partnership, which will develop Villago’s 100 acres of commercial dirt, has broken ground on the $22 million, 160,000-sf Villago Marketplace and the $8 million, 11-acre Villago Village.

Villago Marketplace, situated on 23 acres at McCartney and Pinal Roads, has Fry’s Marketplace as the anchor tenant, which will occupy 107,000 sf. McDonald’s Corp., Fry’s Fuel Center and J.P Morgan Chase & Co. have taken pad sites, with one site remaining.

According to Gregg Alpert, chief operating officer with Phoenix-based Evergreen Development, pre-leasing on Villago Marketplace’s remaining 45,000 sf of inline space is going very well. “We’re just pushing dirt now and are probably at about 50% commitment on the inline shops, which is a great place to be,” Alpert says.

Villago Village, which is across the street from Villago Marketplace, will be anchored by a Walgreens Co., a Tutor Time Learning Center and a Wells Fargo & Co. branch. Both centers will be operational by mid-2008.

Alpert tells GlobeSt.com that the two retail projects are happening in conjunction with development of Villago’s first 1,000 residential units. As residential development continues, Evergreen and Diamond will build a power center and neighborhood shopping center two miles north of the current projects on Pinal Val Vista Roads. “We’re building all the centers to serve the future residential growth,” Alpert notes.

He says that right now preliminary planning and discussion is underway on the future projects, with no specific groundbreaking plans at this time. The power center, he notes, will be anchor-tenant driven, with development plans firming up as tenants are signed. “There’s been a lot of interest from users on all fronts,” he adds. “We expected the interest, but we were surprised by the velocity of it.”

Butler Design Services of Phoenix is the architect for Villago Village and Villago Marketplace, while Infrastructure Design, another local firm, is the general contractor. Volk Co. in Tucson is the leasing agent.

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