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MESA, AZ-A partnership led by Phoenix Suns’ vice chairman Sam Garvin has put 215 acres up for sale. The land, located west of the 5,300-acre General Motors Proving Grounds, carries a $40-million ask.

Situated north of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, the land has a half-mile of frontage along Ellsworth Road, a major north-south artery for Mesa, and is bounded by State Highway 202 and Warner Road. The acreage could hold up to 1.7 million sf of retail, industrial and commercial product and 900 multifamily units.

“This was originally zoned C2-retail and M1, which is an employment designation. Based on changes in land-use consideration by the City of Mesa, we’re looking to add up to three apartment sites to that as well. We think the multifamily will be the first to be built,” explains Brent R. Moser, executive vice president with Phoenix-based Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial LLC. Moser is marketing the property with Grubb & Ellis senior associate Michael D. Sutton and vice president Steven Mardian.

Moser tells GlobeSt.com that although the land just came to market, a buyer could be chosen within the next month due to the interest. Because of the asking price, he says the sellers would prefer land be sold in its entirety to one buyer.

The land is generating significant interest because of its location across Ellsworth Road from the proving grounds, which was a testing facility for General Motors. A portion of the land was sold in 2006 to Scottsdale developer DMB Associates Inc., which expects to start a master-planned community in 2009. An added attraction is that location is near the intersection of State Highway 202 and the future State Highway 802. Construction will start in about four years.

Right now, the acreage holds desert, road and little else. “The GM site was 5,300 total acres with its testing facility and that’s why there’s a void in development today. It was a protected area,” Moser explains.

But with DMB’s development and the future highway, Moser says there most likely won’t be a void for long. “This is one submarket that seems to be immune to the economic cycle and slowdown in real estate,” he says. “The interest level we’re seeing there exceeds any other in Arizona.”

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