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PHOENIX-LGE Design Build has just broken ground on a $9.6-million, 48,000-sf build-to-suit office building. The project is one of 86 in permitting or under construction by the turnkey company, putting it on track to hit $200 million in signed projects this year.

Free Office’s build-to-suit will be situated at Elliot Road and Interstate 10, the latest in a two-month run that yielded roughly $30 million of other projects. The executive search firm’s office building will deliver in early 2009.

The 2008 development docket also includes a $14.2 million, 66,011-sf office/warehouse at 92nd Street and Bahia Drive in Scottsdale for American Audio Visual and $8.1-million, 42,307-sf Higley Village, a retail project at Higley and Baseline roads in Gilbert. Also in the pipeline is a $3.3-million, 31,000-sf office building at Miller and McDonald roads in Scottsdale; $2.6-million, 16,225-sf office project at Price and Frye roads in Chandler for Able Technologies; and the 9,357-sf Mesa Family Medical Center, a $1.3-million project for land at the corner of Stapley and McKellips.

David E. Sellers, LGE’s president, tells GlobeSt.com that build-to-suits in general are doing well despite gloom-and-doom forecasts about the Phoenix economy. “Everyone thinks the economy is in a drought, but there are companies out there that need to expand and that aren’t tied to homebuilders or mortgage companies,” he says. “The companies we’re working with are manufacturing, distribution and high-technology companies.”

Sellers says LGE’s staff pushes the fact it is a turnkey shop: permitting, architecture, engineering and general contracting. When the work’s done, the finished product is sold to end users or leased. Sellers says the company’s system means that it does well even in slower times. “We really go crazy when the economy is booming,” he adds.

Last year, LGE delivered 3.3 million sf, representing $327.2 million and most of it as spec, according to Sellers. “This year, I’m focused on some spec, but mainly we’re working with build to suit,” he explains. “We’ll have around $200 million for 2008 and we already have a great start on that.”

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