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SURPRISE, AZ-A replacement developer for a prized retail site adjacent to Surprise Stadium has lined up $10.85 million in acquisition financing. Bell Retail A&B LLC is buying the 17.07-acre site from Crestone Cos., a San Diego developer that scrapped its plans for a 104,000-sf shopping center and 13-screen cinema after the theater operator pulled out.

Scripps Investments & Loans, a private lender in La Jolla, CA, has arranged a bridge loan to facilitate the acquisition. The transaction was structured as a nine-month loan with three three-month extension options.

The borrower is an investment entity created by Las Vegas-based Millennium Properties, which is looking to develop the property with a mix of retail and hotel uses. Millennium consultant James Wilcox says the precise breakdown has not been determined, but he expects the project to have about 100,000 sf of retail space.

“We’re trying to design a project that meets the city’s need for aesthetics and pedestrian friendliness, but also ensures a return for our investors,” Wilcox says. “We’re still working on the exact configuration.”

The site is part of a 69-acre parcel that another Millennium entity, Stadium Village LLC, is developing beside Surprise Stadium. The 12,000-seat facility, which serves as the spring training facilities for the Cactus League’s Kansas City Royals and major league team Texas Rangers, is regarded as a project anchor. The city is building a municipal government complex in the same area.

According to Scripps’ president Jeffrey Lubin, it’s the first time that the lender has done business with Millennium, but he says the project is one the company feels very comfortable with funding. “We like the property and the area,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s a great street with lots of retail. It’s more an in-fill situation, which we also like.”

Lubin reports Scripps completed about $160 million of bridge loans in the first half of the year. The target market is $5 million to $50 million. “We used to do a lot of entitled residential,” Lubin says. “Since that’s dried up, we’re doing more retail and commercial, especially industrial and mini-storage.”

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