Major renovations coming to Camelback Esplanade









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Sep 24, 2013, 2:29pm MST Kristena Hansen Reporter-Phoenix Business Journal

A major face lift is in store for two of the four towers at the Camelback Esplanade, a landmark mixed-use development at 24th Street and Camelback.

MetLife, owner of the project, is pouring millions — although an exact figure was not immediately available — into the makeover in hopes of reinforcing the mixed-use development’s position in the Camelback corridor, which has become one of the most desirable submarkets in the Valley postrecession, according to a statement Tuesday from Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona Inc.

Renovations on the first tower, 2425 E. Camelback Road, will begin this month. The improvements will be mostly made to the lobby and common areas and include new marble flooring, lighting and carpets in the lobby as well as a total re-do of ground-level restrooms. Over time, MetLife will make similar improvements to the upper levels.

Once the renovations on that building are complete, work will begin on the second tower at 2525 E. Camelback Road.

Stevens Leinweber Construction, the general contractor for the makeover project, will conduct the majority of work after normal business hours to minimize disruptions to tenants, the statement said.

“This modernization project is integral to our overall strategy for these assets,” Sheryl Brisbin, general manager of Camelback Esplanade, said in the statement. “The Camelback Esplanade stands out as a signature landmark in the Phoenix marketplace and maintaining that stature is of utmost importance. We are committed to elevating the quality of Camelback Esplanade, attracting and retaining the strongest tenants and continuing the tradition of this mixed-use property as a focal point of metro Phoenix.”

Camelback Esplanade is comprised of roughly 906,000 square feet of total office space and nearly 76,000 square feet of retail space. The two towers being renovated each are about 235,000 square feet.

The project sits in the heart of the Camelback corridor, which posted the highest absorption in the Valley during the second quarter of about 237,750 square feet.

While it has become one of the most sought-after submarkets, it still had a relatively high vacancy rate at the end of the second quarter of 27.4 percent. Tempe, Chandler and downtown Phoenix, on the other hand, were hovering between 12.8 percent and 15.8 percent vacancy.

The two Esplanade buildings being renovated each posted vacancies of about 46 percent.

In my article back in July, local real estate experts told me the high vacancy in the Camelback area will be short-lived, which means rents will quickly rise. Building owners are seeing this demand coming, experts said, and MetLife is one of many who are getting ahead by renovating their assets, which will enable them to charge higher rents later on.

“As the office market steadily recovers, we expect rental rates to increase,” Jerry Jacobs of Cushman & Wakefield, who represents MetLife, said in the statement today. “With vacancies declining in the submarket, we plan to reinforce our position.”

Kristena Hansen covers residential and commercial real estate.



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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 landspecialist in Phoenix and a Landspecialist in Arizona.




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