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New Firm to Update Malls

Manarino Realty plans to redevelop properties into shopping centers that include uses such as offices and hotels.

September 25, 2006|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

A new firm backed by former executives of Arden Realty Inc. and other wealthy Los Angeles-area investors has been formed to renovate and develop shopping centers on the West Coast.

Manarino Realty is headed by Robert A. Manarino, 50, former director of development in the West for Cousins Properties Inc., a publicly owned commercial developer based in Atlanta.

His Irvine-based venture will acquire financially underperforming or unused commercial properties, including malls, hospitals and industrial plants, said Manarino, who is chief executive. The company will then redevelop them into shopping centers that include other components, such as offices, hotels, theaters, restaurants, apartments and condominiums.

"Southern California is still growing very rapidly, and now it's starting to grow inward," Manarino said. "We're working on repositioning obsolete assets."

Typical Manarino Realty developments will cost $50 million to $150 million and be undertaken in urban and established suburban markets, he said. No projects are yet underway, Manarino said, but the firm is negotiating to acquire at least two properties in Los Angeles County.

Financial backers of the new company include Richard S. Ziman and Victor Coleman, formerly of Arden Realty, and John Long and Jack Mahoney, chief executive and president, respectively, of Summit Commercial Properties.

Manarino Realty is one of Ziman and Coleman's first business ventures since they sold real estate investment trust Arden Realty to General Electric Co.'s GE Real Estate for $3.2 billion in May.

"I continue to believe that there is opportunity in the retail sector, especially when combined with the terrific talents of someone like Bob," Ziman said of Manarino.

Ziman, who described himself as a passive investor in Manarino Realty, is chairman of American Value Partners, a new fund that will invest in real estate funds. He declined to discuss that budding venture further, citing Securities and Exchange Commission restrictions.

Long's Highridge Partners has built a portfolio of office, industrial and housing properties valued at more than $6 billion in the last two decades. Last year he formed Golden Boy Partners with boxer Oscar De La Hoya to invest in housing and mixed-use developments in Latino communities.

Summit Commercial is a subsidiary of Highridge Partners.

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roger.vincent@latimes.com

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