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ONTARIO, CA-NewMark Merrill Cos. of Woodland Hills plans to break ground today on its 207,000-sf Marketplace on Grove center, which will feature a Lowe’s Home Improvement, retail shops and 270 apartments that will be developed by Archstone-Smith. The project site is at the southwest corner of Philadelphia Street and Grove Avenue, adjacent to the 60 Freeway.A 169,643-sf Lowe’s Home Improvement will anchor the center, which is scheduled to open in the fall. The property will also include several restaurants and retail pads. The 270 apartments will be developed on an adjacent site of 11.25 acres that NewMark Merrill sold to Archstone-Smith. The retail project is 80% leased and is expected to be fully leased by the opening date, according to Sandy Sigal, president and CEO of NewMark Merrill.NewMark Merrill, which is an investment and management firm as well as a developer, will handle management and leasing of the center. The property was purchased for cash and closed on June 30, 2005.The development is a joint venture with Woodland Hills-based, the Merrill Cos., with NewMark Merrill Cos. being responsible for all property development, management, leasing, accounting and marketing duties for the center.Construction financing for the new retail venue will be provided by JP Morgan Chase Manhattan and was arranged by Kevin Schillig of JP Morgan. In addition to the standard entitlements required for the development, the project involved both a rezone and lot line adjustment.Ontario city officials expedited the entitlement process to help the developer meet a seller’s deadline for NewMark Merrill to acquire the project site and to provide the rezone and lot line adjustment, notes Brad Pearl, VP of leasing and development for NewMark Merrill.

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