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SURPRISE, AZ-The developer of Surprise Pointe has taken a major step toward the launch of vertical construction with the sales of two parcels for $18.64 million at the northern boundary of the city’s primary commercial district. The 290-acre master-planned development eventually will have 3.5 million sf of office, industrial and retail space.

Los Angeles-based Keshvar LLC has sold 60 acres to Crescent Crown Distributing LLC of New Orleans for $11.2 million and 20.7 acres to Scottsdale-based Glimcher Ventures Southwest for $7.44 million. Glimcher plans to start construction in August on an estimated 400,000-sf retail center, the Shoppes at Surprise Pointe, anchored by a 14-screen, 2,800-seat theater by UltraStar Cinemas of San Diego. Crescent Crown initially will build a 150,000-sf distribution building on the land. Surprise Pointe is situated between Litchfield and Dysart roads.

“With these deals, we really have our two anchors for the project,” Eric Bell, an associate vice president for Colliers International Inc., tells GlobeSt.com. “We have other deals in the works, but we’re still working on the infrastructure. That should be completed by the end of the year.”

Bell is part of a team of brokers from the Phoenix office of Colliers marketing the development for Keshvar. Other members include senior vice president Bob Lundstedt and associate vice presidents Michael Ciosek and Darren Tappen. Colliers’ senior vice president Gary Tenney represented Crescent Crown.

There are multiple projects going up or planned for the general area, but Bell says the location of Surprise Pointe and adjacency to the BNSF Railway give it an advantage over its competitors. “This is a superior master-planned development and rail land is nearly impossible to find. And the prices are still relatively affordable compared to other parts of the Phoenix market,” he says.

Brian Gast, a principal at De Rito Partners Inc. in Phoenix, which is leasing the Glimcher project, reports demand for space in the center is solid, with annual shop space asking rents at $35 per sf. He says the leasing team is working on deals with a couple sit-down restaurants, bank, bowling alley and fitness center. The projected opening is third quarter 2008.

“The partnership of UltraStar and GVSW will bring the first movie theater to Surprise, giving Surprise Pointe the retail anchor it needed,” Ciosek says. “With Forbes naming Surprise as the third-fastest growing suburb in America and Money naming the city as Number One in the nation for job growth, Surprise Pointe will continue to flourish as one of the major hubs of employment for the City of Surprise.”

Construction of the distribution facility will make Crescent Crown the largest private employer in Surprise, with 150 employees. According to Crescent executive vice president Joe Cotroneo, general manager of the Phoenix operations, Crescent plans to expand operations over the next 10 years, eventually employing close to 500 people at Surprise Pointe. It will continue to occupy its 250,000-sf facility at 402 S. 54th Place in Phoenix, which employs more than 600 people. He says Crescent Crown chose Surprise Pointe for its strategic location to serve the fast-growing West Valley communities of Surprise, Buckeye, Peoria, Glendale, Avondale and Goodyear and the rail access for distribution over a wider area.

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