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LA QUINTA, CA-The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market grocery stores operated by Britain’s Tesco will anchor two of three new shopping centers planned here and in Cathedral City, including a LEED-certified project under development here by Regency Centers. The Regency center here is Jefferson Square, a 102,000-sf project that is planned for a site at Jefferson Street and Fred Waring Drive, which the Florida-based shopping center REIT is building in partnership with Maranita Development.

Regency and Maranita expect to break ground on the Jefferson Square project in the spring of 2008 and to open the center in the spring of 2009. According to Paul Loubet, Regency Centers vice president of investments, Jefferson Square will feature restaurant and service businesses, including a CVS pharmacy, in addition to the 14,000-sf Fresh & Easy.

Leasing for Jefferson Square is being handled by Travis Farrell at Regency, along with Maggie Montez and Dani Alexander of CB Richard Ellis. Loubet notes that the Fresh & Easy at Jefferson Square is one of 200 of the markets that Tesco plans to open by the end of 2008, including 50 in Southern California, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, by late February.

Regency will seek design core and shell LEED certification for Jefferson Square, which is one of two new Fresh & Easy-anchored centers planned in La Quinta. The other is a $20 million project called the Plaza at Calle Tampico that Pasadena-based Highland Development Co. plans for a site at the northeast corner of Calle Tampico and Desert Club Drive.

The Plaza at Calle Tampico will feature a 14,000-sf Fresh & Easy market plus two retail pad buildings with an aggregate total of 18,300 sf of shop space. Highland expects to break ground on the new development in August 2008, with completion slated in February 2009.

The Highland development will be an infill neighborhood retail project across the street from the Old Town La Quinta shopping and dining district, notes Michael Singelyn, senior director of development for Highland. Heather Sharp of Sharp Commercial Inc. of Palm Desert is handling the marketing and leasing of the project.

The third new grocery-anchored center in the region is an 88,391-sf Regency Center project in Cathedral City that is called Plaza Rio Vista that will be anchored by a 44,700-sf Stater Bros. supermarket. Regency has already broken ground at Plaza Rio Vista, which it is developing at the intersection of Vista Chino and Landau Boulevard in partnership with MDI West.

Loubet notes that Plaza Rio Vista will feature retail, restaurant and service businesses including Starbucks, Carl’s Jr. and Chevron, all slated to open in early 2008. Leasing for the project is being handled by Farrell at Regency Centers along with Montez and Alexander at CBRE.

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