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IRVINE, CA-The Bascom Group has formed a joint venture with Realm Real Estate of Newport Beach to acquire and develop office buildings in Southern California, including a new development the venture has already under way in Palmdale. The new venture, called the Realm Group, has the capacity to invest up to $100 million per transaction in either repositioning properties to add value or to develop office buildings from the ground up, according to Bascom.

Jerry Fink, a Bascom Group managing director and co-founder, says that the new JV is designed to “take advantage of Southern California’s fundamentally strong office environment of low vacancies, increasing rents and rising employment.” The venture’s first development is a 230,000-sf office project called Palmdale Corporate Center in Palmdale, where the Real Group expects to begin construction next month and to have the first building ready for occupancy in June 2008.

According to J.R. Pearce, principal of Realm, in addition to new construction the company’s JV with Bascom will focus on distressed and/or poorly performing office buildings and move them up a class by modernizing and upgrading them. The business plan closely parallels the approach that Bascom has employed in executing value-added plays in the apartment market in Southern California and in other markets.<p.Bascom's Palmdale project with Realm will be developed at the northwest corner of Trade Center Drive and Auto Center Drive. The location is at Palmdale's Trade & Commerce Center, just west of the 14 Freeway. The leasing agents for the project are Lenny Dance and Chuck Hoey of the Lancaster office of CB Richard Ellis.

Formed in 1996, Bascom quickly became one of the most active players in the value-added multifamily arena in Southern California, acquiring and repositioning properties throughout the Southland. Since then, the company has expanded throughout the Western US, acquiring more than 43,000 units and closing deals totaling more than $5 billion.

Realm Real Estate’s expertise is in commercial and residential projects including urban infill and suburban new-growth markets. The company’s principals also have experience in corporate development and institutional finance via careers at Koll Development Co., Empire Commercial Real Estate and Rreef.

Although Bascom is known primarily as a multifamily repositioning firm, the company has acquired more than three million sf of commercial properties nationwide through its joint ventures with the Southern California Industrial Fund LLC and Rushmore Properties LLC. The Bascom group also has a wholly owned subsidiary called Premier Business Centers that is one of the largest privately owned executive suite operations in the US with 49 locations in California, Washington, and Texas.

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