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YUMA, AZ-The developer of the 70-acre Rio Vista Commerce Center is negotiating to bring a 100- to 120-room hotel to the $30-million development. If all goes according to plan, a deal for a hotel on three acres will be set by late summer.

WCC Properties of San Diego has 64 acres up for grabs in the commerce center at the junction of Giss Road and Interstate 8. In addition to the hotel developer, there is a retail developer from Tucson sizing up land for a project too, Christopher Ackel, senior associate for CB Richard Ellis in Phoenix, tells GlobeSt.com.

Rio Vista Commerce Center is situated in a city once considered the half-way stopping point between Phoenix and San Diego. But, Ackel says some developers are starting to see a different side of Yuma–one with an active tourism industry, active agricultural base and home to the 86,000-acre Yuma Proving Grounds, which has 2,400 acres leased to General Motors Corp. for a hot weather testing track.

Next month, Rio Vista Commerce Center’s first build-to-suit opens–a 29,000-sf call center for Allstate Corp., headquartered in Northbrook, IL. Ackel says Allstate liked the area because of the accessibility to a bilingual labor force. Yuma is less than eight miles from the Mexico border.

Other development activity includes Phoenix-based WDP Partners LLC’s one-million-sf Yuma Palms at 1375 S. Yuma Palms Pkwy., a regional mall down the road from Rio Vista Commerce Center. WCC’s next-door neighbor is the 150,000-sf Las Palmillas Center, a power center developed by Pacific Crest Development.

WCC Properties’ Rio Vista can support several pads, including a 250,000-sf retail project and up to 60,000 sf of office space. “There’s been some talk of doing a small, multi-tenant garden-style office building for lease by the developer,” Ackel says. The plan is to sell developed lots or do build-to-suit projects. The marketing team includes CBRE first vice president Pat Horan and assistants Tyler Hannay and Juanita Mebane along with Tom Pancrazi of A.T. Pancrazi Real Estate Services Inc. in Yuma.

Ackel says interest in the area definitely is picking up. “Interest has been good, but it’s an ongoing educational process in which we have to educate brokers and developers from Phoenix and San Diego about what’s going on in Yuma,” he adds.

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