Camelback Building Sells for $75 Million

By Yvette Armendariz
The Arizona Republic

PHOENIX – Camelback keeps drawing in investors ready to plunk down multimillions for a piece of the Valley’s premier office corridor.

The latest building sale closed this week for $75.62 million, or $325 a square foot. The property is the nine-story Camelback Center at 2355 E. Camelback Road, which is tucked behind several office and condo high-rises.

New York-based Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, a financial-services company, bought the building. Teachers Insurance focuses on retirement savings for teacher and medical professionals and has over $400 billion in assets under managment. The acquisition is the company’s third in Phoenix.

Crown West Realty acquired Camelback Center in November 2004 for $32.35 million and focused on filling the office with high-quality tenants.

“When they bought the building…it was only 40 percent occupied and there was a lot of shell space,” said Chris Toci, who was part of the Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona team that represented both buyer and seller on the deal.

Now, the building is 94 percent occupied. Tenants include Wells Fargo Bank, Oracle USA and First American Title Insurance Co.

Current rents at Camelback Center are about $25 a square foot, but the market is averaging about $35 a square foot, and some buildings are fetching over $40 a square foot.

Brian Ackerman, Ted Harrison, Mike Beall and Tim Whittemore round out the Cushman & Wakefield team on the deal.

Kevin Calihan of CB Richard Ellis said that building sales going for over $300 a square foot is less of a shocker these days.

“Years ago, it was a theoretical barrier,” he said. “It’s a reflection of rising rents.”

Several buildings have changed hands recently in the area, including Camelback Esplanade’s five towers.

The biggest deal was the $117 million sale last year for the Hines building at 24th Street and Camelback. It pulled about $373 a square foot.