Phoenix – M3 Cos. in Phoenix (Scott Schirmer and Bill Brownlee, partners) is working on forming a venture with P.B. Bell Cos. in Scottsdale (Phil Bell, Chapin Bell, principals) to develop a 245-unit apartment complex on an in-fill location in Phoenix. M3 Cos. controls a 6.18-acre at the northwest corner of 16th street and Highland Avenue. The property, which is occupied by retail and office buildings, is owned by Pugliano Enterprises Limited Partnership in Phoenix (James Pugliano, principal). A company formed by M3 Cos. (16th and Highland Partners LLC) has the property under contract to buy. The sale is contingent on zoning approval. Word is the price tag is not quite $5 million. Pugliano, who assembled the site in three acquisitions, declined to discuss the plans for the central Phoenix tract. He added that he needed to be sensitive because of the tenants that will be displaced if the redevelopment is approved. One of those businesses is Pugzies, a well-known sandwich shop the Pugliano family owns at 4700 N. 16th Street. That restaurant, which has been a popular neighborhood eatery for 31 years, would be razed for the apartment community. The apartment project is being designed by Rich Barber of ORB Architecture LLC in Phoenix. Tentative plans call for a four-story structure built on top of one level of parking. Development start of the gated community is about a year away. Opening will follow in around 12 months. Build out expected to take about 15 months. MT Builders in Scottsdale would serve as contractor. While design plans are still in the preliminary stages, it is expected that the studio, one- and two-bedroom units will average roughly 925 sq. ft. And the average monthly rental rate is projected to be about $1,100. Development cost (land and buildings) estimated at $40 million. Debt and equity financing and capital is still to be arranged. Both Schirmer and Brownlee have extensive experience in real estate investing, neither have been apartment developers. The privately-held P.B. Bell Cos. has developed, acquired managed and sold numerous multi-family communities in the Valley. P.B. Bell presently has four apartment projects in various stages of construction in the Phoenix area. Last week, BREW reported a company formed by P.B. Bell planning to develop a 194-unit apartment complex at the southeast corner of Dobson and Germann roads in Chandler. Find out more from Schirmer and Brownlee at (602) 386-1325. Talk to Phil Bell and Chapin Bell at (480) 951-2222. Pugliano is at (602) 799-3332.