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PHOENIX-As the final part of a three-prong strategic plan, KKE Architects has opened offices in Phoenix and Tucson. The move will help KKE have a presence in the Arizona market, while expanding its overall presence in the southwest.

In Tucson, KKE acquired Gresham & Beach Architects Inc. which will be called KKE Gresham & Beach. Meanwhile, KKE joined forces with independent architect George Sheller with Sheller Architecture Inc. of Tempe, AZ. KKE also hired Ken Lufkin and Nader Kavakeb from Phoenix-based Jacobs Carter Burgess to fill out the metro Phoenix office.

Tom Gerster, KKE’s president and Chief Operating Officer says the Arizona offices are the final part of a three-pronged, five-year strategic plan that targeted three southwest areas. KKE offices are already up and running in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Gerster says the Phoenix area, and Tucson to the south, represent an ideal area for the company’s growth because of the high growth factor, strong fundamentals and continued population growth.

In addition, “the Tucson acquisition brings continued diversification to our practice by adding a health-care component,” Gerster tells GlobeSt.com. “We feel we can leverage some of our other networking and contacts with the health care base to expand into the Phoenix market and other areas of the southwest.” At this time, there are no plans to open more offices in either city.

The offices will have a main focus on retail, with some office and industrial projects to round out the mix. Gerster says the KKE southwest offices operate based on location, rather than specific product type. However, “if there’s a theater project in Tucson, for example, we’d bring in our entertainment expert from California and team that person with someone in Phoenix or Tucson to provide the experience,” Gerster says.

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