SAN FRANCISCO-California shopping center developers Russell Pratt, John Reininga Jr. and Malcolm Riley have joined forces with the locally based investment group Rawson, Blum & Leon to invest in and develop shopping centers in the Western US. As part of the alliance RBL, Pratt and Reininga combined their offices on the 10th floor of 456 Montgomery St.The alliance is looking for ground-up or redevelopment opportunities of urban in-fill centers, suburban neighborhood and community centers, lifestyle centers, power centers and regional malls located in densely populated commercial corridors in southern and northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Single tenant build-to-suits also are desired. It will acquire 100% fee simple interests, equal control partial interests, or debt positions that may lead to a near-term ownership position. “In normal circumstances, we would be competitors,” adds RBL principal Jeffrey Leon, explaining that with all the 1031 investors out there willing to accept lower yields, it is very difficult for disciplined real estate investors to find investments for their clients that can generate IRRs of at least 10%. Rawson, Blum & Leon has acquired and managed more than 30 properties in joint venture relationships with financial institutions and life insurance companies. RBL focuses specifically on value enhancement through redevelopment and tenant redistribution of retail and office properties. RBL will provide the new alliance with a stronger balance sheet and immediate access to capital. “We wanted to capitalize on our combined expertise as well as our long-standing industry relationships to aggressively pursue an increased volume of deals,” says Riley, president of Malcom Riley & Associates, a Los Angeles-based firm that has developed 42 shopping centers over the past 30 years.Reininga is president of Reininga Corp., which has developed such projects as Paseo Nuevo, a $100-million redevelopment project in Downtown Santa Barbara anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s, and Corte Madera Town Center, a 425,000-sf mixed-use redevelopment. Pratt is president of the Pratt Co., which has developed 14 shopping centers and two self-storage facilities in the past 30 years.Leon says RBL’s new alliance partners augment RBL’s ground-up development experience and “have a different access to deal flow than we do,” which should help increase the volume of deals, says Leon. “We’ll have to split up the pie more, but that’s OK as long as we are seeing more deals.”

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