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SAN DIEGO-A Los Angeles-based developer has bought a portion of a block in the blossoming Little Italy neighborhood for a 380-unit condominium project.

Watt Commercial Properties paid $7.3 million for the property, bordered by Ash, Beech, Columbia and State streets. Watt holds to start work on the two-building, 17-floor condo next summer, with completion by mid-2003.

Little Italy has become a focal point for developers with the Downtown ballpark project at a virtual standstill. Watt officials say that with apartment and condo vacancies in the low single digits, the market for new finished projects should stay strong for several years.

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