Construction Begins on $24M JV in La Quinta, California

Marinita Development and Regency Centers are breaking ground on Jefferson Square, a commercial development of 90,000 square feet in La Quinta, a city near Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley . The project is being planned in sections. Phase One, a shopping center, is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2009. Current tenants include Fresh & Easy Market, owned by Tesco of Great Britain, and CVS/Pharmacy. Marinita Development is a privately held company, a developer, builder and manager of retail and industrial properties. The general contractor for Phase One is Mercer Construction of Temecula, Calif. and the architect is KTGY Group, Inc. of Irvine , Calif. “This is my first joint venture with Regency. I first tied up this property in 2000, and it took eight years to bring this to fruition,” J.Scott Fawcett, president of Marinita Development told CPN. “And that’s unusual. But in California it takes a long time to get your entitlements, and there was a new Wal-Mart about two miles from the property—the first Wal-Mart with groceries – that had scared off all the other grocery stores. So it took me a long time to convince the market to go into this.” But once it got down to the wire, things had to happen fast. “When it came down to the end, this was a situation where I had very little time to raise money. We had to close the escrow within I think 60 days,” he noted. “Once I went to Regency with this property, they made a decision almost immediately. And that was very unusual..” Regency supplied the finances, using its own credit lines. Jefferson Square is located at the southwest corner of Jefferson Street and Fred Waring Drive. Fawcett advised that he is only building in phases due to the economy. Phase Two will include home improvement and more shops, but will not start for another 18 months so. “We will build an entire center if we have enough commitments from tenants, but now, in this climate, we’re not going to build on speculation. When things were really going strong in 2005 and 2006, developers could build without tenants because they knew tenants would come. Now the industry as a whole is more conservative.” Tesco is also one of the tenants at another of Marinita’s projects, in Lake Elsinore . Marinita is presently involved with eight projects, including three that are under construction in Southern California . The Lake Elsinore project will be open at the end of 2009. Other tenants and projects include: The Shops at Sycamore Creek, a $42 million, 94,000 sq. ft. shopping center anchored by Vons “Lifestyle” supermarket, Vons’ Fuel Station and a CVS/pharmacy in Corona; Orangewood Centre, a 26,400 sq. ft. retail convenience center in Riverside anchored by Kragen Auto Parts, Firestone Tires and 7-Eleven; and Golf Center Square, a 17,000 sq. ft. retail convenience center in Indio anchored by Parkway Spirits and Market. Marinita Development and affiliates currently own more than 20 retail, industrial and residential communities. Regency Centers, a REIT trading on the New York Stock Exchange, owns more than 450 retail properties nationwide, comprised of more than 60 million square feet. During the last eight years, Regency has developed 189 commercial shopping centers (including some that are now in construction). These investments are valued to be, at completion, worth a total of almost $3 billion.