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ONTARIO, CA-Now that Forecast Homes founder Jim Previti has sold the business to K. Hovnanian Cos., he has turned his attention to the commercial real estate market with the formation of Empire Commercial Real Estate. Financed by the $320-million sale of Forecast Homes, Previti’s new entity oversees acquisition, development and management of office, retail, multifamily and self-storage properties for the Empire Cos.

Headquartered in Ontario, Empire Commercial has an existing portfolio of more than 750,000 sf that Previti held outside the sale of his residential company. The new entity, which has already secured $100-million worth of commitments for future projects, plans to concentrate its holdings in Northern California, Arizona, Nevada and the Inland Empire.

A majority of the development projects is expected to occur in the Inland Empire, as one of the firm’s principal goals is to bring more high-end product to this rapidly growing region of Southern California. “It is really a vision of Mr. Previti,” says Jim Brooks, Empire Commercial’s president. “The Inland Empire is ripe and will continue to be ripe for a higher level of retail, multifamily and office product.”

The company has already begun developing these high-end projects here, as in March it completed its first office development, a class A building in Ontario. The three-story facility, which houses Empire Commercial’s headquarters, is valued at approximately $15 million. It is already 100% occupied by around nine different tenants, according to Brooks. The company has also broken ground on a $15-million neighborhood center off the 15 Freeway and is gearing up to start construction on a $40-million multifamily project in Rancho Cucamonga.

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