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HARQUAHALA VALLEY, AZ-The recent acquisition of 1,600 acres by Ashton and Brandon Wolfswinkel hasn’t surprised many familiar with the predominantly agricultural area. The Scottsdale, AZ-based Wolfswinkels are holding the land for investment, just like the 19,000 other acres that they’ve bought in recent years.

The land is 35 miles west of Phoenix, with most of it now desert and rocks. Ross Smith, senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis in Phoenix, says the land does have other attributes. “The first thing that’s going on out there is water,” he says. “It has a good water supply and you don’t always find that in the desert.”

Second, he adds, is the land has Interstate 10 frontage. “It’s in the path of growth from Phoenix,” he explains. “Someday there’ll likely be rooftops out there.”

Robert McGeorge, a broker with Don Bennett & Associates Realty in Goodyear, AZ, says Harquahala Valley is also an energy and power corridor between California and Arizona. “There are a lot of KV lines between the two states,” he says. “The main interest for a lot of the land buyers is solar. They’re interested in hooking into the KV lines for distribution of solar power.”

McGeorge tells GlobeSt.com he’s working on approximately $100 million of land deals in Harquahala Valley. He predicts a good chunk of the land will be “under mirrors” and generating some kind of power within the next five years. “This is farm country that used to grow melons. Now solar companies want to put up farms to hook into the power grids out there,” he says.

Although McGeorge doesn’t see much residential development in Harquahala Valley’s future, Smith says Phoenix’s growth is definitely moving west. He points out that Interstate 10 is a direct path to California and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. With storage space running out in both ports, the goods will have to go somewhere. With Harquahala Valley less than five hours to the California coast, it’s likely to be a good choice for future warehouses.

“In all of these areas, in the long run, I think we’ll see multiple uses–centers of employment and other developments–but not in the near future,” Smith concludes. “The Wolfswinkels are looking at this from a long-term perspective.” The Wolfeswinkels did not return calls for comment.

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