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LA HABRA, CA-Hopkins Real Estate Group of Costa Mesa and Irvine-based Arnel Capital Partners have kicked off construction of the 220,000-sf Imperial Promenade community retail center on a 17-acre site at Imperial Highway and Idaho Street. The development parcel formerly was the site of a Kmart.

The development, which is the fourth joint venture between Hopkins and Arnel, will include retail shops, services and restaurants, according to Hopkins VP Brian Hopkins, with construction expected to be completed in June. Tenants already lined up include Target, Circuit City, restaurants and retailers, according to Sharon Courtway, director of leasing at Hopkins Real Estate Group.

The project is one of a number of former Kmart sites in the Southland that have been redeveloped or targeted for redevelopment since the giant retailer closed hundreds of stores in connection with its 2002 bankruptcy filing, before it merged with Sears to form Sears Holdings Corp. The Kmart store at the Imperial Promenade site operated for about 10 years and has been vacant since closing in 2003.

Relatively few new development sites have been available in Orange County in recent years, and retail properties there are in such strong demand that a Marcus & Millichap retail report this year was headlined “Investors search high and low for Orange County retail properties.” The report projected Orange County retail vacancy rates to decline about half a percentage point to 3.6% this year “as retailer demand continues to outpace new supply.”

The Imperial Promenade site joins a list of Hopkins projects now under way that includes developments throughout Southern California. Among them are centers in Carson, Santa Clarita, San Clemente, Redlands, La Habra, Whittier, Fontana, Eastvale Sun City, San Bernardino, Palmdale and Palm Springs.

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