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TUCSON-Solon America Corp. found its permanent US home, taking down a 101,266-sf building through a 10-year lease in the Tucson Commerce Center. The solar panel manufacturing company is paying about $8.1 million plus tenant improvements.

Stephen D. Cohen, principal with locally based Picor Commercial Real Estate Services, a member of the Cushman & Wakefield alliance, says Solon has moved into its building at 6950 S. Country Club although tenant improvements are still under way. Cohen, who represented MEF Realty LLC of Riverside, CA, says the building is one of four built in the late 1970s for IBM. “Solon took the R&D building with the electronics lab because it was shell space and it had the power,” he says. “It hasn’t been occupied since IBM moved out in 1994.” He adds that MEF’s other three buildings, each about 100,000 sf, and Solon’s are now 94% leased.

Tenant representative Robert L. Davis, first vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Tucson, says Solon America, a subsidiary of German-based Solon AG, moved to Tucson in early 2007 and leased space at 2700 E. Executive Dr. “They had a small presence there, then they ran out of space trying to gear up for their automated assembly of solar panels,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Davis says the company looked at three or four buildings during its search, with size, shape and power grid as the dealmakers for the Tucson Commerce Center space. Additionally, he says “it was located near their temporary facility and the pricing and deal structure were flexible.”

Davis says Solon selected Tucson for its US headquarters to begin with because of its proximity location to the company’s existing and future markets. “They had determined that Tucson was an ideal place from many different criteria, not the least of which is the sunshine,” Davis says. He adds that Solon has plans to expand in Tucson down the road.

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