Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tempe land sold for $3.24 million

The high-profile, sought-after parcel of vacant land that once housed Gentle Strength Cooperative in Tempe has sold for about $40 a square foot.

That's $3,240,000 for 1.84 acres on the northwestern corner of University Drive and Ash Avenue, a block west of Mill Avenue.

"We were very pleased with the price," said Mindy Korth of the Phoenix office of CB Richard Ellis, which represented the seller.

"It was definitely competitive. . . . A number of people thought we weren't going to achieve that kind of pricing."

Barry Gabel of CBRE also worked on the deal for the seller, ML Manager LLC of Phoenix, the lender that acquired the property at a trustee sale in November.

ML Manager is the successor to the bankrupt Mortgages Ltd., once a high-flying Valley company.

The buyer, who won out over multiple offers, is Brookfield Asset Management of Toronto, owner of 100 and 150 W. University Drive, totaling 300,000 square feet in the Centerpoint office complex. The company also owns two nearby parking garages, a public one and another used only by employees of JPMorgan Chase.

Brookfield is a large REIT, or real-estate investment trust, and investment firm with holdings throughout North America and an active player in the Arizona market.

"They wanted to own it so they could have the authority over the development of the site since their investment was right there," Korth said.

"They didn't have a specific development plan they had already cooked up and were ready to serve."

Brad Wilde is a broker with Scottsdale-based Land Advisors Organization and an infill expert.

He described the sale for $40 a square foot as a "terrific price."

It shows a lot of confidence in the downtown Tempe market and that Brookfield wants to control the site, he said.

"The buyer is an adjoining property owner, and I believe they paid that high price to cover its flank and protect its interests," Wilde said.

Had the land been sold to an individual retail user, Wilde said, the square-foot price likely would have been $20 to $25.

by Luci Scott The Arizona Republic May. 28, 2011 12:00 AM

Tempe land sold for $3.24 million

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