”Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
— Napoleon Hill: was an author and pioneer of the
personal development genre
By Dianna M. Náñez The Republic | azcentral.com Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:50 AM
Liberty Property Trust is developing a site plan and hopes to have a building constructed by year’s end on approximately 100 acres of high-profile land on which it purchased rights from Tempe last month.
Liberty hired RSP Architects as the master planner for about 800,000 square feet of office or industrial buildings targeted for development at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive near downtown Tempe and just west of Town Lake, said John DiVall, senior vice president for Liberty’s Arizona region.
DiVall anticipates that getting the site plan approved by Tempe for Liberty Center at Rio Salado will take a few months.
Liberty is marketing the initial 76 acres to companies with large employee bases. DiVall said he considers the Tempe site attractive to major employers because of its central Valley location, proximity to downtown Tempe and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
“We’re hoping that the market cooperates, that we have a building whether it’s a speculative or a ‘build-to-suit,’ where you build (according to a particular company’s specifications) and lease it, this year,” he said.
The developer is constructing a build-to-suit building for Aetna at its Liberty Cotton Center in Phoenix.
The development deal provided Liberty the option to buy an additional 21 acres at the site where DiVall envisions space for a hotel.
“That area, where the potential is for mixed-use, hotel and retail, would be further down the road from the immediate office and industrial (development),” he said.
Tempe has long sought more hotel developments along Town Lake and in downtown. Several hotel proposals stalled in the down economy. After being on hold for years, a Residence Inn by Marriott is under construction at Forest Avenue and Fifth Street just east of Mill Avenue.
Downtown Tempe merchants consider the recent uptick in development a sign that commerce is on the mend from a tough economy.
Lauding the land sale, Tempe officials promoted a city estimate that the Liberty development may generate as many as 6,500 jobs over the next decade.
But some critics have argued against the incentive that Tempe approved for the developer and questioned whether it was good business to sell such a large lot of prominent land during a down economy.
The sale terms included $15.1 million for 76 acres, $2.1 million for 5 more acres and the option to buy an additional 21 acres. The city will credit Liberty for about $5 million in remediation to prepare the land, which has been used as a landfill, for development. Upon development, Liberty would make a one-time $50,000 payment to two Tempe school districts.
Tempe offered the developer a Government Property Lease Excise Tax break, which allows cities to enter into deals that reduce or eliminate property taxes that certain developers pay.
Generally, the tax break is offered to developers who build in blighted areas on property the city owns or where a municipality becomes the property owner of record and leases it to the developer.
The property benefits from the city’s tax-exempt status and is effectively taken off the tax rolls while the developer pays a considerably smaller excise tax. This deal would provide Liberty an eight-year abatement of property taxes. During the term of the GPLET lease, Liberty would pay Tempe annual rent in an amount equal to 50 percent of what the property taxes would have been without the tax break.
Councilman Kolby Granville is among the Tempe officials who said that he would not have voted for the land deal had there not been significant potential to generate thousands of new jobs.
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Walter Unger CCIM, CCSS, CCLS
I am a successful Commercial Investment Real Estate Broker in Arizona now for 15 years and I worked with banks and their commercial REO properties for 3 years. I am also a commercial and Landspecialist in Phoenix and a Landspecialist in Arizona.
WHETHER YOU LEASE OR OWN
NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU TO EXPAND, UPGRADE OR INVEST.
In my opinion we are at bottom of the cycle in Commercial Real Estate in Phoenix, so there is only one way and it’s called we are going up again and now is the time for you to expand, upgrade or invest in Commercial Properties in Phoenix. The prices on deals I may get you will not be around forever.
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