Article originally published by Phoenix Business Journal, written by Ron Davis

Construction in Scottsdale is heading north where more than 500 acres are ripe for development, particularly for corporate campuses

Making big bets

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Cos. is a major employer in Scottsdale. Its real estate arm will be the landlord of nearly 2 million square feet of office space across 135 acres at the emerging Cavasson development.

Brian Ellis, president and COO of Nationwide Realty Investors said the firm wanted to develop a similar mixed-use project the firm had previously put together near its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide’s Grandview Yard includes 1.4 million square feet of commercial space, restaurants, grocery and service retail and hotels.

“It was the most attractive, undeveloped site in the state of Arizona when thinking about access, visibility, surrounding amenities, views, all the infrastructure and the reputations of Scottsdale and the state of Arizona,” Ellis said of the 135-acre site on the northwest corner of Loop 101 and Hayden Road.

Nationwide raised its hand to express an interest in buying the site, going through entitlements and a rezoning of the property by working closely with Millar and other city and state officials. But Nationwide still had to win the land at auction.

Nationwide ended up being the auction’s only bidder and bought the land for $83 million, the appraised value of the land.

“There’s a lot of money at stake. There weren’t a lot of people who could do that. We had the financial wherewithal to do that,” Ellis said. “We’re a Fortune 100 financial institution that can take a long-term view and wants to be invested in real estate.”

Cavasson will be worth in excess of $1 billion when completed. As far as spending goes, the development is only about a third of the way to reaching that billion-dollar mark.

To date, Nationwide has opened the 237-key Hilton North Scottsdale at Cavasson, a 440,000-square-foot office building, the corporate office for Choice Hotels, a six-story parking garage and a 15,000-square-foot retail building. Another 150,000-square-foot office is under construction, another 100,000 square feet across two medical offices and about 1,600 multifamily units are also planned for Cavasson.

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