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COACHELLA, CA-The Los Angeles-based Hispanic Retail Group of Cleveland’s Forest City Enterprises plans to develop a 51,000-sf Cardenas Markets as part of a redevelopment of a 140,000-sf retail center formerly called Coachella Plaza. Forest City’s investment partners in the Hispanic Retail Group, which include the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, have committed $100 million over the next 24 months toward developments in markets with a 40% Hispanic population.

The Cardenas Market is scheduled to open in the Fall in a former Von’s at the intersection of Harrison Avenue ( Highway 86) and 50th Avenue. The Hispanic Retail Group, which is an alliance among Forest City California, the Legaspi Co. and Beverly Hills-based Streetscape Equities venture capital, bought the parcel in June.

Besides the former Vons, the site includes an 87,000-sf building that formerly housed a K-Mart and a 560-car parking area. HRG plans to rename the development Plaza Oasis and to orient it toward the predominantly Hispanic population in the community.

Forest City has turned to Hispanic leadership as well as Hispanic-owned and operated companies in its efforts for the Hispanic Retail Group to achieve that goal. Andres Friedman, HRG director, was born in Chilé, grew up in Mexico and was educated at Harvard. The Legaspi Co. is a leading Hispanic real estate development, leasing and management company in Los Angeles with a history of more than 25 years.

Cardenas Markets caters to the Hispanic market with specialties such as chorizo and Mexican-style cheeses, Hispanic canned goods with Spanish labels, plus “the personalized service the community is used to,” says Jesus Cardenas, the company’s founder. The chain has stores in Ontario, Montclair, Moreno Valley, Pomona, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Riverside, Ribidoux, San Jacinto, and Corona.

The Hispanic Retail Group opened its first center, a ground-up development in the 46% Hispanic city of Inglewood, early in 2005. The Inglewood development is anchored by an Hispanic-based and owned grocery chain, Gigante, and “has been extremely successful,” says Jose Legaspi, president of the Legaspi Co. HRG is also developing projects in Stockton, El Centro, Fresno and approximately 10 other cities.

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