PORTLAND-Jordan Schnitzer is preparing to ramp up investment activity in 2002. Up from $150 million in 2001, Schnitzer tells GlobeSt.com his billion-dollar Harsch Investment business is projecting $200 million in acquisitions for 2002.

Helping make it happen will be Steve Wong, the latest addition to Harsch’s acquisitions department, which now totals five people. Fresh off 10 years with Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management, Wong will be in charge of Harsch acquisitions in Northern California, Oregon and Washington and Hawaii. He will report to Ed Borst, who heads the department.

Wong, who grew up in Portland, was most recently working out of LaSalle’s Walnut Creek, CA office. He started with the company in Portland in 1991, and in 1996 was recruited back to Chicago where he became chief investment officer. Among other things, the job with Harsch was a way back home, says Schnitzer.

“We’re the largest privately held real estate company in the Northwest, so it’s logical he would try contact us,” says Schnitzer. “He had excellent referencing, a good education and we needed another person in that department.”

Indeed, Harsch, whose company owns various types of real estate in seven different states, says he plans to add to it in 2002 by investing $50 million more than 2001. In 2000, significant acquisitions made by the firm in just the past few months include the 95-acre, 1.4-million-sf Speedway Commerce Center in Las Vegas for $44 million and a 360,000-sf office project in West Sacramento for $41 million.

The West Sacramento property is adjacent 100 acres on which Harsch is one-third of the way through building out one million sf of high-tech industrial space called Riverside Commerce Center. Elsewhere in Sacramento, Harsch is 170,000-sf into the eventual 600,000-sf Natomas Commerce Center.

Back in Las Vegas, the company recently closed on 40 acres on the north side of the city that will be Cheyenne Commerce Center, a 650,000-sf development of which 200,000-sf will get under way mid-year 2002. In nearby Henderson, Harsch acquired 47 acres on which the first 350,000 sf of a total 850,000-sf also is set to get underway mid-year 2002.

In Portland, Harsch spent $13 million about a year ago to pick up the 134,000-sf Tigard Towne Center. At the time, it was the company’s fourth retail buy in the preceding 18 months. Up in the Seattle area, Harsch is mid-way through development of the 150,000-sf Pavilion II retail center in Federal Way. Located across from the 190,000-sf Ross Plaza shopping center Harsch picked up in a previous year for $20 million, Pavilion Plaza will be completed by the end of 2002.

Operating largely off the media’s radar screen, Harsch Investment will finish the year with about $1.1 billion in assets, 425 employees and more than 7,500 tenants. “We’ve been so quiet (about our activities) for a big company,” Schnitzer tells GlobeSt.com. “But now with all the wonderful people we have, we need to raise the visibility.”

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