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SAN FRANCISCO-Forest City Enterprises and Westfield America ceremoniously broke ground late last week on a $410-million transformation of the landmark Emporium Building and the existing San Francisco Centre into a combined venue totaling 1.5 million sf in the heart of the city’s retail district.

The San Francisco Centre development is scheduled to open in fall 2006, with entrances on Mission, Market and 5th streets. It will be home to the second-largest Bloomingdale’s in the country and the second largest Nordstrom in the country, as well as 200 specialty stores and exclusive boutiques, fine dining, an international gourmet marketplace, office space and a nine-screen movie house by Century Theaters.

Forest City and Westfield each will have a 50% interest in the development, which is expected to attract 25 million visitors each year and to generate $500 million in annual sales. During construction, the existing San Francisco Shopping Centre and Nordstrom will remain open.

“The venue will answer the call for commerce, couture, community, cuisine and culture,” says Forest City Commercial group president/CEO James Ratner. “Fusing the modern architecture of Bloomingdale’s with the historic elements of the landmark dome and grand facade will create a signature experience for San Francisco.”

Cleveland-based Forest City is a $5.3-billion NYSE-listed company principally engaged in the ownership, development, acquisition and management of commercial and residential real estate throughout the US. Westfield America is a property trust listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with assets of $10.6 billion (US). WFA owns a majority interest in the Westfield America portfolio of 66 centers across the US, branded as Westfield Shoppingtowns.

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