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SIMI VALLEY, CA-Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Cleveland will joint venture with San Diego-based partners, the Corti Gilchrist Partnership and Finley Group, on the $300-million Simi Valley Town Center to develop, build and manage the mixed-use project in Ventura County, just across the Los Angeles County line.

The developers say the Simi Valley project, which will include 500 apartments, will be the largest retail-residential complex ever undertaken in Ventura County and the first regional mall to be developed in the county’s bounds in more than 20 years. It will boast more than a mile of freeway frontage on 129 acres north of Highway 118 between Erringer Road and First Street, with Macy’s and Robinsons-May department stores and a future third major retailer as anchors. In addition, the center will have 120 specialty tenants and restaurants. It is planned for 800,000 sf of retail space thus far, not counting as yet-unannounced anchor.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2004, with the open-air center scheduled to open in 2005. The project is being designed by F + A Architects of Glendale, with the general contract yet to be named.

Forest City says the new shopping venue will feature Mediterranean architecture, trellised and covered walkways and mature landscaping. Brian Jones, president of Forest City California, the Cleveland firm’s Los Angeles-based subsidiary, says the new center is one of a number of such properties the company is developing throughout the country that aredesigned to provide venues where shoppers will linger to enjoy the social and entertainment aspects of the centers as well as the outdoor environment.

The Corti Gilchrist Partnership, in conjunction with the City of Simi Valley, has been active in the pre-development of Simi Valley Town Center for more than four years, according to John Gilchrist, a principal in Corti Gilchrist.

Demographics show that the market area has grown significantly over the past decade. The primary trade area population is expected to reach 275,000 by summer 2005, with the annual average household income among that group approaching $105,000. In addition, by that time, the population within 15 miles of the project is expected to exceed 800,000 and an average household income topping $100,000.

Among other open-air projects under development by Forest City are Victoria Gardens, a center in Rancho Cucamonga; and Short Pump Town Center, the first upscale, open-air center in Richmond, VA.

The Corti Gilchrist Partnership and the Finley Group have experience in developing dozens of regional malls nationwide. Some of their better known projects include Horton Plaza, Fashion Valley and UTC in San Diego; Valley Fair and the Village at Corte Madera in Northern California, as well as Park Meadows in Denver; Bridgewater Commons in New Jersey; and Prudential Center in Boston.

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