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IRVINE, CA-Hopkins Real Estate Group has added to its list of projects under way in Southern California with the start of construction on the 385,000-sf Vernola Marketplace. The new center, one of a number being planned or built by the Irvine-based company, is a community shopping center at the southeast corner of the I-15 Freeway and Limonite Avenue in an unincorporated area of Riverside County.

Hopkins is developing the 40-acre parcel as a joint venture with Rockwood Capital, which is based in San Francisco and Greenwich, CT. Construction on Vernola Marketplace is expected to continue through spring 2007, with signed leases including Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Michaels, Petco, Denny’s and Fashion Q. Leasing efforts for the center are being handled by Brian McDonald and Erik Westedt with the Ontario office of CB Richard Ellis.

The Vernola project adds to a list that includes other HREG Southern California developments in Carson, Santa Clarita, San Clemente, Redlands, La Habra, Whittier, Fontana, Menifee, San Bernardino, Palmdale and Palm Springs. As noted in a recent GlobeSt.com report, those projects include one of the company’s latest, its acquisition and potential repositioning of the Palm Springs Mall.

Hopkins acquired the 315,000-sf Palm Springs asset recently from Furst Commercial Real Estate for $34 million and is considering several mixed-use options. The Palm Springs Mall occupies 26 acres on Tahquitz Canyon Way at Farrell Drive.

The company’s other projects include repositionings of the aging Whittwood Town Center in Whittier and the Carson Mall in Carson, where, in partnership with Shamrock Capital, Hopkins is midway to completing the de-malling of the shopping venue, now renamed SouthBay Pavilion, which consists of 937,680 sf of retail on 71 acres.

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