Related California broke ground for The Village at Santa Monica, a $350 million mixed-use, mixed-income development in downtown Santa Monica, Calif.

When completed, the project will include 318 luxury condominiums and affordable rental apartments, 20,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurants, as well as plazas and gardens. The center will offer views of Pacific Ocean.

Starting in 2015, residents and visitors to The Village will also be to use the Expo Line for travel from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles.

“Our intent was to create the ultimate Santa Monica Village,” said Related California President and CEO Bill Witte in a statement. “We are very sensitive to the responsibility we have for this site that is a one-of-a-kind treasure. Thus, we brought together a superb team that can give it the sense of place it deserves.”

Moore Ruble Yudell, Koning Eizenberg Architecture and Mia Lehrer + Associates are the architects on the project.

Cushman & Wakefield Appoints Michael Bartolotta as CFO

Cushman & Wakefield appointed Michael J. Bartolotta as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He will be based in the firm’s New York headquarters office.

Previously, Bartolotta served as CFO of EXOR USA Inc., the U.S. operation of Cushman & Wakefield’s majority shareholder. He has also been a member of Cushman & Wakefield’s board of directors since 2007.

“Mike has served on our board of directors since 2007, and is intimately familiar with our organization, structure and priorities,” said Glenn Rufrano, Cushman & Wakefield president and CEO, in a statement. “Mike’s appointment signals EXOR’s continued confidence in and commitment to Cushman & Wakefield’s aggressive growth plan and Mike will be instrumental in our success as he joins us in this new role.”

Keller Williams Appoints Zhann Jochinke as COO

Keller Williams NYC appointed Zhann Jochinke as chief operating officer. In his new position, Jochinke will assist CEO Eric Barron in overseeing the growth and day-to-day operations of the company. Jochinke currently serves as president of the Manhattan MLS and the Manhattan Association of Realtors.

Northridge Fashion Center to Start Renovation Work

Northridge Fashion Center in Northridge, Calif. will begin renovation work in February. The project will include new flooring, new interior and exterior dining areas, new color palate and lighting, a re-invented Macy’s court with Wi-Fi and Cyberlounge, a new children’s play area, new façade finishing and new signage.

Party City Signs Three Leases in Texas, Oklahoma

Venture Commercial negotiated three new leases for Party City Corp. The retailer signed leases ranging from 12,000 sq. ft. to 12,635 sf. Ft. at Wheatland Towne Crossing in Dallas, at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Texas, and at Mingo Marketplace Shopping Center in Tulsa, Okla. Larry Leon and Jonathan Cooper, of Venture Commercial, negotiated these transactions.

Five Below to Open a 35,400 SF Store on Market Street in Philadelphia

Five Below signed a 10-year, 35,400-sq.-ft. lease at 1818 Market St. in Philadelphia. The agreement includes an option for Five Below to expand to 60,000 sq. ft. on two floors. Daymark Realty Advisors, the building’s property manager, negotiated the lease on behalf of the landlord.

Michaels to Open 22,000 SF Store at Fairlane Village in Pennsylvania

Michaels Stores Inc. signed a lease with Ashok Mehra for a 22,000-sq.-ft. store at Fairlane Village Mall in Pottsville, Pa. Levin Management negotiated this transaction on behalf of the landlord.

Blink Fitness Takes Location in the Bronx

Blink Fitness signed a lease for a 15,830-sq.-ft. club at 800 St. Anns Ave. in the Bronx. Erin Grace, of SRS Real Estate Partners, represented the landlord in the transaction. Peter Levine, of Charter Realty, represented the tenant. Blink Fitness plans to open its new location in the second quarter of 2012.

Bridal Boutique Takes Over Robb & Stucky Space in Phoenix

Schaffer’s Bridal signed a 10-year lease with 15222 Kierland LLC for a 10,400-sq.-ft. store at 15222 N. Kierland Blvd. in Phoenix. The retailer will operate in a space formerly occupied by Robb & Stucky Patio. Larry Ortega and Daniel Ortega, of Colliers International, represented both parties in the transaction.

Other Notable News

Cole Real Estate Investments promoted Scott Holmes to senior vice president of acquisitions, multi-tenant retail; Brian Garrigan to vice president of acquisitions, single-tenant retail; Chad Adams to vice president of acquisitions, single-tenant retail; Mark Manheimer to vice president of acquisitions, retail sale-leaseback; David Collins, to senior vice president, multi-tenant property management; Karen Halpert to senior vice president, single-tenant retail; Christina Mayo to vice president, multi-tenant property management; and Bryan Frarey to vice president, construction operations.

Thompson & Knight LLP hired William M. O’Connor and Evelyn H. Seeler as partners in its New York office. Both attorneys specialize in real estate capital markets, restructuring and bankruptcy. Previously, O’Connor served as chairman of the financial services practice at Crowell & Moring LLP. Seeler focused on federal and state regulatory issues involving residential and commercial lenders for the same firm.

Metro Commercial Real Estate Inc. hired Jonathan Klear as a member of its brokerage team. Klear has seven years of experience in brokerage. Previously, he worked for NAI Mertz.