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LOS ANGELES, CA-The Los Angeles City Council has approved the $123.1 million Marlton Square development proposed by Capital Vision Equities and football star Keyshawn Johnson for the former Santa Barbara Plaza site in South Los Angeles.

The Council also approved a public investment package of $43.4 million to support the long-awaited renewal of one of Los Angeles’ most neglected areas, a 22 acre-site in the center of the Crenshaw district, adjacent to the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza Mall.

The development calls for a 140,000-sf community shopping center, 140 single-family detached homes, 180 units of affordable senior apartments and space set aside for public use.

The development is led by a joint venture between CEO Christopher Hammond of Los Angeles-based Capital Vision and Johnson’s Keyshawn Capital Development LLC. It includes a partnership with The Lee Group for the single-family homes.

Marlton Square will replace Santa Barbara Plaza, which was built in 1947 and was once an active shopping district but has been in decline for many years. More than 1.2 million people with an average household income of nearly $50,000 live within a five-mile radius of Marlton Square, but Hammond says they must travel long distances to find a family restaurant or a full-service book store.

The new project will front on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in an area bounded by Marlton Avenue on the east, Buckingham Road on the west and Santa Rosalia Drive to the south. Walkways will connect it to the Magic Johnson Theatres and Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza to the east and the new single-family and senior housing developments to the south. The developers expect to begin construction of the senior housing first in 2003, followed by construction of the first phase of single-family homes and the retail center.

The development team will provide equity capital totaling $35.0 million and secure conventional loan financing for the remaining $44.7.7 million. The $43.4 million public investment package will include $4.9 million in Mello Roos bonds, $17.1 million in federal HUD grants, $15.1 million in federal HUD loans, and $6.3 million in local tax increment generated by the project.

Capital Vision Equities and Johnson, who is a graduate of USC and a star with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, previously teamed on the development of Chesterfield Square, a 250,000-sf community retail center at Western and Slauson avenues.

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