Linear hopes to deploy $80 million in 2008, according toprincipal Aubrey Cannuscio. Despite the credit crunch that hasslowed property sales dramatically in the region, $16 million hasbeen spent year-to-date, including $3.9 million for the Readingproperty and $1.6 million for 1138 Post Rd. in Warwick.Negotiations are underway on another two deals, Cannuscio confirmswhile declining to identify those properties.

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The fund gives Burlington-based Linear the ability to make farlarger purchases than the latest two. There are several substantialassets already in the $225 million spent since the campaign beganfive years ago, but Cannuscio says the latest buys arestrategically important for the fund, calling them"straight-forward investments" that allow a cash flow and potentialupside via a planned retrofit of 345 Main St. The off-market dealwas brokered by Frank Normandin of Summit Realty Partners, whocorrectly sensed the center would be attractive to Linear, saysCannuscio.

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A vacant space fronting Route 28 has recently been leased by asuccessful natural foods store, bringing 345 Main St. to fulloccupancy. Other tenants include a Sherwin-Williams outlet, anotherrecent arrival. There is also a liquor store whose owners, BusaLiquors, sold 345 Main St. to Linear. The most lasting denizen ofthe plaza is Café Capri, a popular local pizza shop and restaurantsituated at the rear of the property.

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"It's tired today, but I think it's going to look like a newproperty in six months," says Cannuscio. Modern signage, façadeimprovements and enhanced landscaping will be part of therestoration, relays Cannuscio, whose firm recently completed asimilar overhaul at the Burlington Marketplace on Mall Road innearby Burlington. Strong visibility along the four-lane Route 28and a local connection aided by Café Capri are among the positivesof 345 Main St., reports Cannuscio, who also notes the property'saccessibility to nearby Walkers Brook Drive. That roadway has seenan explosion of retail development in the past two years with moreon the way. "We like what's going on there," Cannuscio says.

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Linear is also enthused about the Rhode Island property, atwo-tenant complex located on Route One less than two miles northof T.F. Green Airport. Harold Lavine of Bessette Realty in Lincoln,RI, was the sole broker in that sale. An Aaron's Furniture Storeshares the 10,000-sf plaza with Asian restaurant Lemongrass,similar to Café Capri by being a well-known local eatery. Inunveiling the latest purchases, Linear named Colliers Meredith& Grew as property manager for 345 Main St. and KeypointPartners to manage 1138 Post Rd.

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