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RICHMOND, CA-A partnership of two Southern California firms has kicked off the first phase of a $220-million revitalization of this city’s civic center that is being financed by a portion of a $101.4-million lease revenue bond issue. The joint venture, called Richmond Civic Center Partners LLC, is a partnership of Los Angeles-based Alliance Property Group Inc. and Mission Viejo-based Wasatch Advantage Group LLC.

The two-phase project, which has been awarded a silver LEED certification, is being financed by lease revenue bonds issued by the Joint Powers Authority of the City of Richmond. A portion of the proceeds are going toward renovating the existing 71,000-sf City Hall building and the 53,600-sf Hall of Justice to create additional office space for city employees.

The project will also include landscaping and other upgrades to the city’s auditorium and art center and the plaza surrounding the structures. The construction is expected to be completed by June 2009.

Bond proceeds will be applied to finance the design, site preparation, renovation, construction, improvement, furnishing and equipping of the substantial rehabilitation and rebuilding of the Civic Center. The nearly 21-acre project is the site of five buildings comprising more than 275,000 aggregate sf and is bordered by Barrett Avenue, 27th Street, MacDonald Avenue and 25th Street.

The development is being designed by Nadel Architects, with Charles Pankow Builders Ltd. serving as the general contractor. A subsequent second phase of the project, to begin in 2009, will include construction of a new Hall of Justice and an adjacent parking structure.

In addition, Wasatch and APG are co-developers of two sites adjacent to the Civic Center Plaza. The team plans to construct 250 to 300 units of mixed-use, mixed-income residential housing on the adjacent site.

CEO Harley Searcy of Alliance Property Group and president/CEO Kipling Sheppard of Wasatch note that the civic center revitalization is one of a number of such projects that they have developed in California and other parts of the West. The projects include public and private office, industrial and multiple-purpose developments similar to the Richmond plan.

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