Holualoa Cos. rebrands and bolsters Camelback lakeside office building

A look at a lakeside ramada planned for the WaterView office campus by Holualoa Cos.

By Ron Davis – Reporter , Phoenix Business Journal

Nov 16, 2023

Nearly two years after purchasing an office campus in the Camelback corridor, Holualoa Cos. said activity is picking up amid renovations, a rebrand of the property and planned on-site multifamily units. 

Planned improvements to Tucson-based Holualoa’s WaterView campus — a nod to a more than 2-acre lake on-site — include a boardwalk; bolstering a ramada area and activating the island on the lake with seating areas; a putting green and more. Holualoa expects those improvements will be done in the second quarter of 2024.

The office is located on the southwest corner of Highland Avenue and 22nd Street in Phoenix.

Inside, Holualoa built out eight spec suites at WaterView, ranging in size from 1,600square feet up to 6,000 square feet.

It also touched up common areas like a cafeteria, bathrooms and new art throughout the campus. Plaza Cos. — a frequent partner of Holualoa on developments like SkySong and the Park Central Mall redevelopment — is the property manager and is overseeingconstruction. Holualoa said it is working with The Weitz Co. as the general contractor while Worksbureau is the architect. Hilgart Wilson is the civil engineer. Lee & Associates Arizona’s Andrew Cheney, Craig Coppola, Bill Blake, Colton Trauter and Gregg Kafk a are the listing brokers for WaterView.

“The thing that was intriguing to us about WaterView was we thought there was a lot that could be done to activate the lake,” said Stan Shafer, principal and chief operating officer of Holualoa. “You drive down Highland Avenue and you think, ‘Oh, this is a nice looking metal modern-looking building’ … We felt like the lake was just a lake sitting there. One of the things tenants are looking for right now is a sense of place and [want] areas where employees can go basically have collisions with other employees, with people from other companies.”

Shafer expects leasing rates to hold in the upper $30s per square foot, which he feels will be a competitive advantage as tenants look at offices throughout the Camelback Corridor. The corridor had a 17.9% direct office vacancy and a negative net absorption of15,877 square feet in the third quarter, according to a market report Colliers International. This part of the Valley also had the highest rental rates among class A offices — rates increased nearly 5% year-over-year, ending at $40.03 per square foot in the Camelback Corridor.

“Small to medium companies are very active in the market, and they are looking for office properties that offer amenities, collaboration areas and a ‘cool’ factor. Those buildings are actually seeing tremendous activity and seeing increasing rents,” Shafer said.

Holualoa purchased the 229,000-square-foot office campus, previously known as ParkOne, in December 2021 for $50.1 million, according to real estate database Vizzda.

Workforce housing part of the plan

In addition to the multimillion-dollar campus renovations, Holualoa also looks to add more than 140 units of workforce housing through a new-build apartment building. Holualoa said those apartments are in entitlement after a Planned Unit Development application was submitted this summer with the city of Phoenix. Holualoa is working with William Allison, of counsel to Withey Morris Baugh PLC, on its PUD with Phoenix, according to its application with the city. Steve Betts, managing director of development for Holualoa, expects to get started on the apartments by next summer.

Developers have increasingly proposed adding apartments to aging commercial centers to help revive retail and office buildings across the Valley. Apartments have also become a key piece of major mixed-use projects and redevelopments such as the former Metrocenter and Paradise Valley malls.

Less than two miles from WaterView, Florida-based Mainstreet Capital Partners plans to build a 75-unit multifamily complex at the site of an existing parking garage at the more than 200,000-square-foot Camelback Lakes office complex.

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