New Ventures A joint venture has been completed between Santa Ana, Calif.-based First American Financial Corp. and Des Moines, Iowa-based Norwest Mortgage Inc. Operating under a holding company called RELS LLC, the venture will provide multiple services to the real estate industry through two companies formerly operated by Norwest Mortgage: Value IT and VIE, both of which will continue to operate under their current names. Both First American and Norwest will hold a 50% interest in the venture, but First American will be the managing partner. A six-member operating committee, with three members from each company, will oversee the joint venture's operation. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Corporate Mergers Minneapolis-based United Properties has announced that its parent company, The Northland Co., has entered into a definitive agreement to sell United Properties to the family of Carl R. Pohlad, also of Minnesota. United Properties president and CEO Boyd Stofer says, "The Pohlad relationship is a perfect fit and allows us to retain the critical elements that have made us so successful." The company employs 280 employees and owns a portfolio of 2.8 million sq. ft.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based PCR has completed negotiations and will acquire KMG Consulting, Los Angeles. The acquisition rounds out PCR's multi-disciplinary environmental firm with an Economic and Fiscal Impact Division that will focus on environmental economics. This new division will be named PCR Kotin -- Allan Kotin is the founder of KMG. PCR provides environmental planning, scientific, engineering and strategic services to the public and private sectors worldwide.

Sales & Acquisitions Tarzana, Calif.-based NewMark Merrill Cos. has negotiated the acquisition of University Square in San Diego for $20 million. The center was purchased by a partnership among NewMark Merrill, Globe Properties and two family trusts. The seller, San Diego-based Douglas Allred Co., was represented by San Diego-based Flocke & Avoyer Commercial Real Estate. Flocke & Avoyer will continue to lease the 182,000 sq. ft. center, which is anchored by Food 4 Less, Drug Emporium, Carl's Jr., Pacific Theatres' Cinerama 6, HomeTown Buffet and International House of Pancakes.

Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis took part in three recent transactions involving California centers:

-- Los Angeles-based Imperial Credit Corp., which does business as PV Terraces, has acquired The Terraces Shopping Center in Rancho Palos Verdes for $17 m illion from Southfield, Mich.-based Terraces Partners. The 173,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Trader Joe's, Pier 1 Imports, Regal Cinemas, Do It Home Center and Bally's Total Fitness. CB Richard Ellis represented both buyer and seller in the transaction.

-- Southfield, Mich.-based Bosc Group has acquired Rancho San Marcos Village in San Marcos for $13.5 million from Boston-based AEW. The 126,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Vons, 24-Hour Fitness, Bob's Big Boy, Wherehouse Entertainment, Union Bank, Downey Savings and Carl's Jr. CB Richard Ellis represented the buyer in the transaction, while Carlsbad, Calif.-based BRE Business Real Estate Brokerage Co. represented the seller.

-- Santa Ana, Calif.-based Pico Associates has acquired Rusty Leaf Plaza in Orange for $11.35 million from ICI Development, also of Santa Ana. The 59,300 sq. ft. center is anchored by Ralphs. CB Richard Ellis represented both buyer and seller in the transaction.

In addition, the Phoenix office of CB Richard Ellis has finalized the sale of Greenway Terrace, a 99,556 sq. ft. center in Sun City, Ariz. Phoenix-based M.B.S. Partners LLC acquired the center for $6.35 million from Austin, Texas-based TRST Sun City Inc.

Miami-based Sarria Enterprises Inc. has acquired Inter-Plaza Shopping Center in Miami for $7.8 million from KOP Investments II Inc., also of Miami. The 121,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Winn-Dixie Marketplace. San Francisco-based Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller in the transaction.

An affiliate of Seattle-based Clarion Partners has acquired Del Mar Plaza, a 70,000 sq. ft. center in Del Mar, Calif., for an undisclosed amount. The center was sold by its developers, Del Mar Plaza Ltd. Major tenants include restaurants Pacifica Del Mar, Il Fornaio and Epazote, and retailers Peaches en Regalia and Banana Republic.

Bethesda, Md.-based First Washington Realty Trust Inc. has acquired three neighborhood shopping centers in Virginia for an aggregate cost of approximately $43.5 million. They are:

-- Willston Centre I and Willston Centre II in Falls Church. Located on opposite sides of Patrick Henry Drive, Willston I is an 86,000 sq. ft. center anchored by CVS and Willston II is a 127,000 sq. ft. center anchored by Safeway. The balance of each center is tenanted by convenience and necessity retailers. First Washington acquired the two centers for $22.7 million from a private investment partnership.

-- Town Center at Sterling in Sterling. The 79,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Giant Food and includes Starbucks, Blockbuster Video, Dress Barn and General Nutrition Center in its tenant's roster. First Washington acquired the center for $20.8 million from a private investment partnership.

Los Angeles-based Princeton LLC has acquired Sudley Manor Square shopping center in Prince William County, Va., for $6.5 million. The 170,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Kmart, Hollywood Video and Rugged Warehouse. KLNB Inc., Baltimore, represented Princeton LLC in the transaction. The seller, a family trust that had owned the property since the late 1970s, was represented by Towson, Md.-based Partners Management.

The Greenwich Group International LLC, New York, has arranged the sale of The Marketplace at the Grove for $21 million to Phoenix-based Vestar Development II LLC. The 660,000 sq. ft. open-air regional center is located on a 56-acre site in San Diego. Vestar plans to redevelop the center into a major destination retail center anchored by Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

The Universe LLC, a partnership of east Tennessee and Texas developers, has acquired 1,100 acres surrounding Eagle's Landing Golf Course in Sevierville, Tenn. Sevierville, Tenn.-based HMH Associates sold the property for an undisclosed amount. Plans call for the land to be developed into a specialty, mixed-use, entertainment/retail complex called The Universe. Irving, Texas-based GreyHawk Realty Capital represented the buyers in the transaction.

Financing Awards The Boston office of Phoenix-based FINOVA Realty Capital has arranged $18.5 million in acquisition financing for the New York-based buyer of Granite State Marketplace in Manchester, N.H. The 10-year loan amortizes over 30 years and was underwritten at 90% loan to acquisition cost. The 250,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Wal-Mart and Shaw's Supermarket.

Chatham, N.J.-based Cronheim Mortgage has arranged a $10 million first mortgage on behalf of Shrewsbury, N.J.-based Keyport Plaza Associates for Keyport Plaza in Keyport, N.J. The non-recourse loan was placed with American United Life Insurance Co., one of Cronheim's correspondent lenders. The loan was structured on a "hyper-amortization" basis whereby the term and payout are for 25 years, but the amortization changes as rents increased. The 75,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Edwards Supermarket.

Management Contracts Newport Beach, Calif.-based Donahue Schriber has been retained by Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group to manage, lease and complete development of Chino Spectrum Marketplace in Chino, Calif. The 608,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Target, The Good Guys!, Ross Dress For Less, Food 4 Less, Staples and a 12-screen theater. This management contract brings Donahue Schriber's total third-party management portfolio to 6.7 million sq. ft.

Other Transactions Newport Beach, Calif.-based McCarthy recently began construction on San Diego-based TrizecHahn's Hollywood & Highland entertainment-retail center in Los Angeles. TrizecHahn senior vice president of development David Mamuth says McCarthy was selected because the developer "needed a contractor who could work on a very complicated undertaking." The project presents several construction challenges: excavation of more than 500,000 cubic yards of earth for a five-level, underground parking structure; demolition of four existing structures; rerouting of major utilities; working around the construction of a rail station at the site; and limited staging areas. The grand opening is set for November 2000.

Huntingdon Valley, Pa.-based Jeffrey M. Brown Associates Inc. has been selected to manage construction for three new movie theaters:

-- A 16-screen Regal Cinema with stadium seating in Springfield, Mass. Greenwich, Conn.-based Charter Realty & Development Corp. owns the theater.

-- A 12-screen Regal Cinema in Arlington, Va. The theater will be built within a 14-story office-entertainment complex owned by Ballston Commons LP.

-- A 12-screen General Cinema in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. The Rouse Corp.-owned project will feature stadium seating in all theaters, with THX sound in two of the theaters.

The Dallas office of Baltimore-based RTKL has been awarded the design contract for the expansion and renovation of North East Mall in Hurst, Texas, by the center's owner, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group. The mall will gain approximately 563,000 sq. ft. of space, increasing the mall to 1.7 million sq. ft. Two new department stores, a 100,352 sq. ft. Saks Fifth Avenue and a 165,000 sq. ft. Nordstrom, will join anchors Dillard's and JCPenney, which will both be expanded. In addition to increasing the size, the architectural firm designed a concept that will give the center a signature image: an elegant, spirited 21st-century garden party. The expansion is set to begin in January.

Red Bank, N.J.-based K. Hovnanian Investment Properties has selected The Tarquini Organization, Camden, N.J., to design the second phase of North Brunswick Towne Center in Princeton, N.J. Phase II will include a 67,000 sq. ft. Foodarama/Shop Rite supermarket and two retail stores measuring 33,000 sq. ft. and 24,000 sq. ft. respectively. Construction will begin in early 1999, with completion set for late 1999. Phase I, which includes a 14-plex Regal Cinemas and 12,000 sq. ft. of retail space, opened in December.