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Evergreen Office Park to break ground by Feb. 17

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Evergreen Office Park will be built in three phases on six acres at the Battlefield and Fort intersection in southwest Springfield, said Dennis McIlroy, whose company, McIlroy and Associates, will handle marketing and management for the development.

Jerry Caplan, owner of Karchmer Inc., owns the property at Battlefield and Fort which will be the site of the 10 buildings that will comprise Evergreen Office Park, McIlroy said. Ground is set to be broken on the project Feb. 17, and phase I should be complete by October at the latest, but could be finished as early as July, McIlroy said.

The park will be made up of office condominiums, and will have 41 units in all, with each unit comprising 1,550 square feet. The cost will be $141,000 per unit for the 12 units in the first phase, McIlroy said.

Tenants of the office condominiums will purchase their office space, rather than leasing from the owner, McIlroy said. The $141,000 cost per unit includes the infill on each condo, and owners will also pay an association fee that will be about $1 per square foot.

"We've toyed with the idea of placing office condominiums in that space for really five years now, and we realized recently that there isn't really any office space in that quadrant of the city. There's plenty of residential and retail, but no office, so it's a good opportunity for us," McIlroy said.

Karchmer Inc. owns other property in town, including the Landmark Building in downtown Springfield. Caplan is the owner of Karchmer Heating and Cooling, also a downtown business, and has been a long-time Springfield businessman, McIlroy said. Karchmer Inc.'s last project was a residential development called West Village.

McIlroy said the developer intentionally started the project in January so that costs would be lower.

"Because we're doing this now, we were able to lock in some lower materials costs because this is the slow season for construction. Costs are starting to go up now, but we were able to get some deals at the lower levels," McIlroy said.

The idea of office condominiums is catching on, McIlroy said, because professionals are realizing they can "have an asset in addition to their business. They can look at the security of it from the standpoint of their business and realize that it's more affordable to own the space they're working in."

McIlroy and Associates is a subsidiary of Lifetime Learning, a real estate school McIlroy owns with his wife. The total project, from start to finish, will be about $6.5 million, including the land, McIlroy said. He said about 25 people have expressed interest in the project, which he classifies as a large office park project.

The architect for the project is Jack D. Ball and Associates, the general contractor is Nichols Construction and and the engineer is Anderson Engineering.

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