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RICHMOND HILLS, ONTARIO-Developers Diversified Realty is planning its first center in Canada here in this suburb 15 miles north of Downtown Toronto. The Cleveland-based REIT is building the C$150-million ($150.7-million) center in a 50-50 partnership with Rice Commercial Group of Toronto.

The yet-to-be-named development will total 700,000 sf on 74 acres. It will include lifestyle retail, offices and residential space, with the developers prepped to start construction in the spring of 2009 for a fall 2011 opening date.

Developers Diversified will look for other opportunities north of the border, says David Oakes, the company’s EVP of finance and chief investment officer. He says that retail projects are especially in demand in the Ontario area because of the Greenbelt Act of 2005, which protects 1.8 million acres from development.

Developer Rice Commercial Group owns and manages about 500 acres of assets, mostly in Toronto, including three-million sf of retail.

This is not Developers Diversified’s first foray outside of the US. The REIT owns 15 shopping centers in Puerto Rico and has interests in nine centers in Brazil.

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