Tag Archives: Alter Group

The Loop 303 interchange is under construction. Photo courtesy of ADOT.

Headed for a boom, the West Valley is ready to go

Clumps of curved freeway fragments balancing on massive pillars of concrete resemble a giant modern art sculpture greeting Interstate 10 travelers through the far West Valley of the Phoenix Metro.

Later this year, those “art” segments will gel into a multi-level interchange linking the I-10 and the Loop 303, and launch the area’s burgeoning commercial development into warp speed.

Kevin Czerwinski, Merit Partners

Kevin Czerwinski, Merit Partners

The new interchange “will be a game changer,” said Kevin Czerwinski, president of Merit Partners, broker for the 1,600-acre, master-planned business park PV303, which straddles the confluence of those roadways and stretches north along the Loop 303 to Camelback Road.

For nearly a decade, the West Valley, loosely defined as everything west of Interstate 17, has been quietly emerging as the metro area’s hotbed for commercial development. It has been fueled by dwindling East Valley land availability and affordability and better transportation access. After completion of the Loop 101, developers quickly gobbled up land along the freeway for homes, shops and businesses. Then they continued the westward expansion.

Now the Loop 303 is offering another close-in frontier and shovel-ready options for new and growing businesses to expand or set down roots in the metro area. The nearly completed semi-circle of highway linking the I-10 and the I-17 will provide a high-speed route to northern states, bypassing metro area traffic congestion — a boon to companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which recently completed a 720,000 SF distribution center in PV303 to service its Western U.S. stores, Czerwinski said. And to other retailers such as Macy’s, TJ Maxx/Marshall’s and Target, e-commerce giants such as Amazon, and high-end manufacturers such as Sub-Zero and Cookson Doors that ferry lots of merchandise intra- and inter-state.

It’s more than just big-box industrial sites popping up in the West Valley.

John Graham, Sunbelt Holdings

John Graham, Sunbelt Holdings

Acres of farm land or empty desert hide the fact that in the offices of forward-thinking developers and savvy city economic strategists, there are detailed plans for office, light industrial and retail centers, medical complexes and regional malls to be built on that un-shoveled land.

“The West Valley’s day is coming,” said John W. Graham, president of PV303 developer Sunbelt Holdings.

Sunbelt was a big player in the East Valley boom of the 1990s and early 2000s, developing residential communities from McDowell Mountain Ranch in Scottsdale to Power Ranch in Gilbert and mixed-use complexes such as Hayden Ferry Lakeside in Tempe. Graham says the same scenario is playing out west of Phoenix now. Land Advisors CEO Greg Vogel compares Goodyear today to Gilbert of a decade ago.

First came the houses
As available and affordable East Valley land dried up, a spate of residential building in well-designed West Valley communities such as Vistancia, Estrella and Verrado have attracted home buyers at all price points, Vogel said.

Greg Vogel, Land Advisors

Greg Vogel, Land Advisors

A whopping 35 to 40 percent of Phoenix metro area residents now live in the West Valley, Vogel said. And all those people need places to shop, bank, and find medical care.

“Residential drives everything,” he said.

Now supermarket-anchored shopping centers and big-box power centers are springing up, two regional malls are on the drawing board, and spec office buildings are breaking ground — despite Valleywide office vacancy rates topping 22 percent. The completion of the Loop 303 interchange will accelerate that trend as it eases drive time for those who work in Phoenix but live in the far West Valley — or want to, Vogel said.

Goodyear, which is in the enviable location at the foot of the new interchange, has been proactive pitching its bounty. That includes PV303 and Goodyear AirPark, a 267-acre, shovel-ready business park at Litchfield Road and Highway 85, said Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, the city’s development services director. And Wakefield-Saenz expects Westcor’s long-planned 1.1 MSF Estrella Falls regional mall to start ringing up sales — and sales tax — in 2016.

Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, Goodyear

Sheri Wakefield-Saenz, Goodyear

Wakefield-Saenz predicts that even more executive offices, high-end retail and high-quality manufacturing businesses will clamor for space in Goodyear during the next decade because of the in-place infrastructure and the educated workforce already living there.

Farther north in Surprise, the story is similar. In 2008, Sands Chevrolet built the first dealership in Prasada, a 4-square-mile, mixed-use development straddling the Loop 303. Now car buyers can shop at eight different dealerships at 303 AutoShow. And more are coming, said Jeff Mihelich, Surprise’s assistant city manager in charge of the Community and Economic Development Department. Neighborhood shopping centers are in the ground or on the drawing board as well, and another regional mall is pegged to land in Prasada, although no date has been announced.

Jeff Mihelich, Surprise

Jeff Mihelich, Surprise

But Mihelich doesn’t want to just provide shops and services and ease the daily commute for Surprise residents. He wants to lure more quality office and industrial employers so that residents can live, work and play in their hometown. Five years ago, Surprise reorganized its economic development department and goals to focus on becoming a major employment base, “concentrating on head-of-household jobs — people who will buy homes, go to restaurants,” he said. Major strategies included streamlining approval processes, persuading developers to pre-plan projects and build infrastructure before target tenants showed up, encouraging spec building, and aggressively marketing all those attributes, Mihelich said. That positions Surprise to take advantage of pent-up business expansion plans as the recent recession wanes, he said.

“When companies are expanding, they often have contracts in hand,” he said. Having property ready to build on can mean the difference between landing or losing a major employer, he said.

Optimistm Abounds
That optimism and pre-planning is not just happening in Goodyear and Surprise. Thanks to a wealth of available and affordable land, developers are eyeing West Valley cities from Avondale and Buckeye to Peoria and Glendale as future business hubs.

Justin Miller, Alter Group

Justin Miller, Alter Group

The Alter Group teamed up with property owner John F. Long to take advantage of the area’s growing popularity among home builders and buyers by developing three major business parks to attract employers. Algodon Center is a 1,000-acre mixed-use campus in Avondale and west Phoenix, Aldea Centre is a 150-acre business park at 99th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, and the 229-acre Copperwing Business Park is adjacent to Glendale Airport. All three have infrastructure and zoning in place and the flexibility to accommodate Class-A, back-office and light manufacturing operations, said Justin Miller, Alter Group vice president.

“The West Valley is a big component of our future,” Miller said. “It’s an area that Corporate America can use and expand because of the abundance of land.”

He’s not concerned about high office vacancies in the metro area. The easy commute for all those road-weary West Valley residents and shovel-ready land are compelling draws for big and small employers as they ramp up their businesses, he said. Valley dwellers who haven’t ventured west of the I-17 for years might be surprised to see the explosive growth.

“If people have not been to the West Valley in a while, they should come and take a look at us,” Mihelich said. “It’s truly a robust market. People outside of Arizona are noticing.”

alter group

The Alter Group To Develop 605,700 SF Distribution Building

The Alter Group announced plans to develop a speculative 605,700 SF cross-dock warehouse/distribution center valued at more than $36M at its 162-acre Buckeye Logistics Center at Buckeye Rd. and 67th Ave. in Phoenix, said Michael J. Alter, President of the Chicago-based national commercial real estate development firm.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in October.

According to Patrick E. Gallagher, Senior Vice President, “The Alter Group is presently talking to several capital partners to finalize the underwriting for this bulk distribution building. . There are only a couple of large warehouse/distribution buildings still available in this segment of the market; vacancy rates for spaces above 500,000 SF, particularly in the Southwest submarket where Buckeye is located, are currently in the low single digits.

“The West Valley has become one of the top areas in the southwest part of the United States for the development of large warehouse facilities to store, package and ship consumer goods ordered via the Internet. The southwest Phoenix market recorded 3.7 million SF of net absorption over the last four quarters of 2011.

Absorption was lower in 1Q 2012 but activity is strong. This steadily increasing user demand, combined with a lack of construction, has vacancy rates continuing to fall. With very few larger buildings available, rents are projected to increase by 20% by 2Q 2013 for large blocks of space.”

The new building will feature 32’ clear ceiling height; 112 dock high and four drive-up level doors; as well as parking for 324 cars and 173 trailers.

Buckeye Logistics Center is strategically located 1.2 miles from I-10 via two full interchanges at 67th Ave. and 75th Ave. The site, ideally suited for regional distribution, also has good access to I-10, which is important for receiving and sending shipments to Southern California markets and ports. Buckeye Logistics Center can support up to 3.1 MSF of distribution space. Three distribution buildings totaling 1.7 MSF have already been built at Buckeye Logistics. Phase I and II were awarded the NAIOP Industrial Project of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Current tenants in the earlier phases are Amazon.com, which occupies more than 1 MSF, and Kellogg’s.

For more information about The Alter Group, visit The Alter Group’s website at altergroup.com.

Water Works Engineers

Water Works Engineers Leased Space

Water Works Engineers LLC has leased nearly 5,000 SF at The Alter Group’s 187-acre Riverwalk Arizona business park in Scottsdale.

Water Works Engineers provides products and services to the municipal water and wastewater community and is hiring employees as part of its expansion.

The company’s customers include the City of Mesa, City of Phoenix and the City of Scottsdale.  Along with its office in Scottsdale, the company also has offices in California, Utah and Texas.

The Alter Group has developed 1 MSF of projects for its corporate users and has ranked No. 3 in the National Real Estate Investor survey of America’s top office developers.

For more information on Water Works Engineers and their projects, visit the website at www.wwengineers.com.

Newsmakers, AZRE Magazine March/April 20111

Newsmakers: AZRE Magazine May-June 2011

Newsmakers in Arizona Real Estate

Newsmakers in the commercial real estate industry are featured each issue. Here are the movers and shakers for May – June 2011:

Shelly Cramer joined GPE Commercial Advisors as associate vice president in sales and leasing, with an emphasis in dental and veterinary properties. Her past professional experience includes positions at CB Richard Ellis and Julien J. Studley.

Trisha Ramsey joined GPE Commercial Advisors as an associate in sales and leasing. Ramsey secured her broker’s license in 2010 after acquiring more than a decade of experience in B-to-B sales and procurement for the semiconductor and furniture industries.

Sundt Construction promoted Wayne Einbinder to vice president to spearhead the company’s new special projects division. The recently launched division will focus on large-scale projects ($100M or more) with external joint-venture partnerships. Einbinder will be responsible for the management, identification, pursuit and acquisition of special projects.

Mike Merk joined Grubb & Ellis as senior vice president, Office Group. Merk joins Grubb & Ellis from BAX Global Inc., where since 2002 he was director of real estate, responsible for the company’s 4.1 MSF North American office and industrial portfolio.

Justin Miller joined the Alter Group as vice president in the firm’s Scottsdale office. Miller’s focus will be on the planning, marketing and development of several Phoenix-area business parks.

Brian Woods was promoted to vice president-Retail Properties at Colliers International. Woods joined Colliers in 2003, and specializes in leasing regional power centers and represents national retail tenants throughout Arizona. Developers and landlords represented include Vestar Development, Nexus Development and Vertical Holdings.

Eight real estate professionals from the CB Richard Ellis Phoenix office are ranked among the company’s top 225 producers in North America. Tom Adelson, Brad Anderson, Tyler Anderson, Sean Cunningham, Jim Fijan, Rob Marsh, Jim Trobaugh and Bryan Taute are among the list of exceptional performers in 2010.

John Glassmoyer and Neil Glassmoyer joined Colliers International’s Scottsdale office as senior vice presidents specializing in investment sales. John has more than 30 years experience in sales, leasing and development of industrial, office and retail properties. Neil has more than 20 years experience as an institutional investment consultant.

Mark Seale joined the office division at Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial. Seale joins the company with more than 26 years of commercial real estate experience. Seale previously worked at Lee & Associates, where he was part of the firm’s Top Producing team in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Dan Pierce was named senior vice president at Kitchell. He joined Kitchell 30 years ago and has been involved with the construction of numerous hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the Southwest.

Arizona’s Finest Lawyers honored five members of the firm of Jennings, Haug & Cunningham. Those honored include Bill Haug, Curtis Jennings, D. Kim Lough, Chad Schexnayder and Mark Barker. The five have more than a century of combined experience in various areas of commercial real estate law.

Berens, Kozub & Kloberdanz PLC has changed its name to Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein PLC, adding 3-year member Marc Blonstein to the firm’s name. Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein PLC is a boutique commercial and residential real estate and business law firm. It has been in business in the Valley since 2001.

Land Advisors Organization in Scottsdale added Ryan Semro, Bret Rinehart and Ben Heglie to its firm as land specialists. Semro, Rinehart and Heglie’s previous roles include stints with Grubb & Ellis, Hogan & Associates, and most recently as principals with Lee & Associates.

Rider Levett Bucknall promoted John Jozwick (general counsel) to senior vice president and Scott Macpherson (principal) to vice president. Jozwick also was elected to the Rider Levett Bucknall North American Board of Directors.

Bryan Taute was promoted to senior vice president and Greg Mayer and Scott German were promoted to vice president at CB Richard Ellis. Taute is involved in all aspects of the commercial office market, including landlord and tenant representation, investment and user building sales, land sales and ground-up development. Mayer specializes in the representation of institutional and private owners of commercial office buildings in Metro Phoenix. German represents corporate clients in site selection and lease negotiations in Metro Phoenix and the Southwest.

Joe Snell, president and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) was named co-chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Daniel Dobric joined Grubb & Ellis’ Office Group as senior vice president. He will team with Michael Myrick, vice president, Office Group, who joined the company in July. Dobric joins Grubb & Ellis with 29 years of commercial real estate experience. He previously spent five years with BRE Commercial as a senior vice president.

Valerie Kelly joined Kitchell as director of Client Services for the Healthcare Division. A 20-year veteran of the local construction and development community, Kelly most recently was with McCarthy Building Companies, where she led business development efforts for the Southwest region.

Colliers International promoted Cindy Cooke to executive vice president-multifamily investments. Cooke has 30 years experience specializing in multi-family investments and leads an investment team that consists of 12 Colliers professionals throughout the Western U.S.

Chris Gerow, senior vice president at NAI Horizon’s Phoenix office, was honored by NAI Global with its Council Appreciation Award.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2011