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ALHAMBRA, CA-The Ratkovich Co. has broken ground on a new 50,000-sf L.A. Fitness center that continues the transformation of the company’s Alhambra development from an office project to what Ratkovich describes as “an urban community.” Los Angeles-based Ratkovich has already added a retail center to the office development and has plans in the works for condominiums as well.

Situated on the corner of the campus at Orange and Fremont avenues, the new L.A. Fitness will be a two-level structure that is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008. The Irvine-based fitness center operator’s new facility will include an indoor swimming pool and basketball court.

Clare DeBriere, executive vice president of the Ratkovich Co., calls the new fitness center “our next step in transforming the Alhambra from purely an office campus into a true urban community.” Ratkovich owns the Alhambra in partnership with an affiliate of AIG Global Real Estate.

The L.A. Fitness facility will join more than 900,000 sf of office space and an adjacent 17,500-sf retail center known as the Shops at the Alhambra as the owners continue to add amenities for tenants and the surrounding community, DeBriere notes. The fitness center is being designed by Rothenberg Sawasy Architects and built by Benchmark Contractors Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Morley Builders.

DeBriere also notes that Ratkovich has received approval from the city of Alhambra to develop 350 condominiums and townhouses on a 10.2-acre site on the northeast corner of the office campus. The company expects to begin construction of the condominiums, known as the Villages at the Alhambra, in the later part of next year.

The Alhambra began as a corporate office project, but Ratkovich has since transformed and expanded it to include the retail development along with a list of government and educational tenants. Ratkovich initially purchased the 38-acre Alhambra campus in late 1999 from Santa Fe International, which had acquired it as part of its acquisition of the CF Braun Co. Before the transformation of the property into a mixed-use campus, Braun occupied the site as its international headquarters for more than 60 years.

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