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LAFAYETTE, CA-Locally based Cortese Investment Co. has preleased 75% of the office space at its newly constructed Lafayette Mercantile, a mixed office and retail project, according to Grubb & Ellis. The development, which is Lafayette’s first new office project in 17 years, includes 32,000 sf of office space and the rest retail.

Rick Steffens and Knute Bucklew of the Walnut Creek office of Grubb & Ellis are the leasing agents for the office portion of the property, which is at 3595 Mt. Diablo Blvd. between Dewing Avenue and Lafayette Circle.

The design features the office space on the upper floors and retail on the ground floor, with asking rates for the office space at about $45 per sf per month.

Steffens and Bucklew report that the project debuted with all but about 9,100 sf of the office portion preleased, with the developer emphasizing the project’s location near BART and freeway access, plus its parking ratio of more than 3.7 spaces per 1,000 sf of office area. A substantial portion of the retail space also has been leased.

City officials say that they expect the Lafayette Mercantile project, which is bringing development to a largely undeveloped site, to get the ball rolling for other development in the Downtown area. A city staff report, for example, said that the project would “occupy a prominent site in the Downtown core and serve as a catalyst for the development or redevelopment of adjacent parcels.”

Developer Cortese is also know for other nearby projects, including its 69,000-sf La Fiesta Square, an office and retail redevelopment on Mt. Diablo Boulevard where Cortese developed a collection of upscale fashion lifestyle retailers along with restaurants and the office space. Cortese’s holdings also include the Main Street Plaza in Walnut Creek.

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