LOS ANGELES-The CIM Group of Hollywood kicked off construction of its 390,000-sf Midtown Plaza in what is considered one of the most underserved retail markets in the city. The center, long delayed and much anticipated after other developers failed to get it off the ground, will bring a Home Depot along with other major national retailers and smaller shops to the area. The 12-acre development site, at the corner of San Vicente Boulevard and Pico Boulevard, is one of the largest properties zoned for commercial use north of the 10 Freeway and west of the 110 Freeway. Designed by Perkowitz & Ruth, the center is being built by general contractor Rudolph and Sletten, which expects to complete the development in the second quarter of 2006.Residents in the area where Midtown Plaza is taking shape currently travel miles to shop because they have no local options, points out Avi Shemesh, principal and cofounder of CIM Group. Shemesh says the new center will bring modern shopping choices to an area that “has been an eyesore for decades.” CIM Group purchased the property last year and is delivering a retail center that previous development teams had undertaken but were unable to bring to completion. CIM worked with the city’s Community Development Department and the Community Redevelopment Agency, which has provided $4.3 million in tax allocation bond financing for the project, in order to get the new shopping venue on track after the other developers’ false starts. CIM describes its approach to the project as “stacked uses taking advantage of the different elevations on the site.” Venice Boulevard frontage on the south side, which is higher, will offer a 148,000-sf space for a major retailer along with 18,000 sf of in-line shops to house smaller retailers. The lower level along Pico Boulevard will feature a 105,000-sf Home Depot with a 24,000-sf garden center. An MTA bus terminal will be incorporated into the site at the Pico and San Vicente corner, with 11 berths surrounded by 15,000 sf of street front retail. Between the two levels will be a mezzanine with 80,000 sf of space for retail or commercial use.

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