Feb 28, 2023 - Business

High-end office space coming to Metrocenter area

An artists rendering of two office buildings with glass exteriors facing a lake.

Artist rendering of Lake Biltmore Corporate Center. Image: Courtesy of Colliers.

The pending demolition and redevelopment of Metrocenter mall is spurring the revitalization of a nearby corporate center.

Driving the news: Lake Biltmore Corporate Center, a two-building complex with 102,000 square feet of office space on 28th Drive north of Peoria Road, is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation.

  • The first floor of the south building already has several tenants, including title companies, real estate brokerages, accounting agencies and law firms, while much of the remaining space is being renovated on spec.
  • The building's target demographic is smaller to midsize tenants who need 1,500 or more square feet.

Details: The glass-exterior buildings will house redesigned common areas, conference rooms, lobbies, modernized landscaping, a renovated employee break area and more.

  • A view of the nearby artificial lake makes the buildings unique, project manager Carla Jo Clary tells Axios Phoenix.

Zoom in: The finished product will be among the only Class A office space in the area, spokesperson Stacey Hershauer tells Axios Phoenix.

  • It's designated for the highest-end office building, with features like high-quality aesthetics, technology and security.

Between the lines: Developers are banking on the upcoming revitalization to drive nearby development.

  • Hershauer says there's a "flight to quality" trend in the office market, with tenants moving into nice spaces to entice people who have been working from home back into the office.
  • Class A office space is a "darling product" that's in high demand, she added.

Catch up quick: After years of decline, Metrocenter closed its doors in 2020 and is slated for an $850 million redevelopment that'll begin this year with the razing of the mall.

  • The development will feature as many as 3,200 apartments, 100,000 square feet of retail, two hotels, a public plaza and a park.
  • The Valley Metro light rail line is being extended to Metrocenter and is expected to be completed in 2024.

Why it matters: "The transformation of Metrocenter Mall has become a powerful economic driver for this trade area, creating an exciting ripple effect for projects situated all around the mall property," Harold Dorenbecher, a representative for Lake Biltmore Corporate Center's ownership, said in a press statement.

  • Phoenix City Council member Ann O'Brien, who represents the area, says she expects the Metrocenter project to drive nearby economic development.
  • "When a group of investors is going to put nearly a billion dollars into an area, that provides a much brighter outlook for the surrounding area," she tells Axios Phoenix.

Zoom out: Steve Betts of Concord Wilshire Developers, a partner in the project, tells Axios Phoenix he's happy to see other projects coming to the area, viewing it as a sign of optimism in the business community about the redevelopment.

  • Betts says he believes the city had this kind of spinoff effect in mind when it agreed to provide financial incentives for the Metrocenter project.
  • "We create the tipping point that others can take advantage of," he said.
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