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LA VERME, CA-Combined Properties Inc. of Washington, DC hasacquired the 105,584-sf Commons at La Verne, a former Kmart site,and plans to raze the existing center, raise its elevation and turn it into a 130,000-sf , grocery-anchored center. The property, which Combined acquired from La Verne Butterfield LLC, is at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue at an infill site in an area of Los Angeles County where development sites are rare. It is across the street from Foothill Plaza, a center acquired by Combined in April 2003.The former Kmart-anchored center was originally built in the late1970′s. Combined plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2005 on the expanded center, with most of the existing structures to be demolished to make room for the new buildings and to raise theelevation of the new center. The project, which is being designed by the architectural firm of Bickel Underwood, will include a new parking lot, better street access and enhanced landscaping. Upon completion, the new center will have increased to 130,000 sf and will be anchored by a 56,000-sf grocery store.Total project investment, including the price Combined paid for theproperty and the cost of redevelopment, will be approximately $24million, according to Ronald Haft, chairman and CEO of Combined.Haft noted that Combined recently formed a joint venture with the Tower Fund, a discretionary fund advised by SSR Realty Advisors Inc., that provides $175 million in capital to acquire institutional grade shopping centers in the Washington, DC and Southern California markets. Combined, which contributed a recently renovated center to the joint venture, is responsible for identifying and closing the acquisitions, and managing and leasing all centers acquired by the venture.With the acquisition of the La Verne site, Combined now has nineproperties in the Los Angeles area. The others include the Center atColdwater in Studio City, Foothill Plaza in La Verne, Foothill Ranch in Lake Forest, Granada Hills Town Center in Granada Hills, Loehmann’sPlaza in Reseda, Mart of Montebello in Montebello, Murrieta Commonsin Murrieta and Shops at Sherman Way in West Hills. Privately held Combined Properties, which is based in Washington, DC and LosAngeles, owns and develops retail property on both coasts, operating aportfolio of 4.5 million sf in the Washington, DC and SouthernCalifornia markets, with more than $250 million in its acquisition anddevelopment pipeline.

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