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Activity around planned battery manufacturing facility picks up in West Valley

Phoenix Business Journal

The State Route 85 and MC 85 area of the West Valley, which is being envisioned as a clean energy corridor, has started to see activity in recent months on the heels of the announcement of KORE Power’s battery manufacturing facility in Buckeye.

Real estate firms and investors have started closing on large parcels of land surrounding the 214 acres that Idaho-based KORE Power plans to start construction on in early 2022.

Over the past few months, Phoenix-based Arizona Land Consulting, which is owned by Anita Verma-Lallian, has closed on four properties totaling 200 acres just south of the KORE site for about $20 million.

Separately, Merit Partners Inc. has just closed on 101 acres near the KORE site that could be home to as much as 2 million square feet of industrial space.

Verma-Lallian recently purchased and sold the four sites and said she will work in partnership with investors to attract potential suppliers and other companies to the properties.

“[KORE] wanted to have the full area be the ‘Sustainable Valley’ where they can have their suppliers come there and also just other renewable energy companies come there,” she told the Business Journal. “We’ve been working on assembling all the land around this corridor … and use this area to attract developers and companies from all over the world.”

City, KORE envisions area as ‘Sustainable Valley’

The 400 or more acres in Buckeye, including the KORE Power site, is being marketed as the “Sustainable Valley,” which the city and KORE Power executives hope will become a center for “clean energy.”

Lindsay Gorrill, cofounder and chief executive of KORE Power, said they are eager to help establish the “U.S. supply chain for lithium-ion batteries through the Sustainable Valley.”

“The Sustainable Valley will be the first showcase of a clean energy supply chain hub. We will continue to promote education and industrial training with the local universities and colleges to further our success,” Gorrill said in a statement.

The Business Journal previously reported that Gilbert-based Zero Electric Vehicles, which signed a battery development agreement with KORE, was one company looking to locate next to KORE Power’s facility on about 20 acres.

Verma-Lallian said “quite a few” companies are looking at the area right now.

“I think there’s going to be other renewable energy companies that we’re going to try and target … and companies that are focusing on sustainability,” she added. “The goal would to kind of make this like the Silicon Valley of clean energy.”

A few additional sites are currently in escrow that will also become part of the clean energy corridor, according to Verma-Lallian.

In addition to proximity to KORE Power, the 200 or more acres is also located close to rail line, SR 85, which the city hopes will become the next Loop 303 in terms of industrial and employment growth, and MC 85.

Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn said in a statement that the “Sustainable Valley” is the future of industrial development with “cutting edge technology that will secure Buckeye’s future as a leader in green energy.”

The four sites Arizona Land Consulting worked on include 67 acres sold to Super RS LLC for $8.3 million; 22 acres that sold for $2.5 million to City Ventures LLC, 63 acres that sold for about $6 million to Mangat Investment LLC; and 45 acres that sold for $4 million to CODBOCW LLC, according to real estate database Vizzda.

More activity in the area

Phoenix-based Merit Partners paid $10.2 million for the 101 acres in Buckeye it recently acquired along State Route 85 across from the KORE facility, according to real estate database Vizzda.

A marketing brochure for the site shows that about 2 million square feet of industrial space could be developed by Merit on the property. Merit Partners said the total cost of development could be $150 to $175 million.

Conceptual site plans call for three build-to-suit industrial buildings for sale or lease that are 250,000 square feet, 555,000 square feet and 720,000 square feet in size. Merit Partners said it has had interest in its site from various parties that are unrelated to KORE’s facility.

Carefree Buckeye 62 LLC River 85 II LLC, which is affiliated with Phoenix-based Carefree Partners Investments and Tait Development, also purchased about 62 acres on the southwest corner of SR 85 and Baseline Road in the same area.

Buckeye was named the fastest growing city from 2010 to 2020, according to Census data. Real estate experts say it’s slated to become the next big city in terms of commercial growth in the Valley.

 


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