ING Clarion Partners has invested more than $166 million in three Western properties through three separate joint ventures with local operators. The properties are in Denver, Colo., and Santa Clara, Calif.

In one acquisition, ING has partnered with Gart Properties to buy Denver Pavilions, a 345,000 sq. ft. downtown Denver retail property, for about $94.5 million. The partners plan to renovate the property by adding escalators to provide easier access to the upper levels and by improving the lighting.

“Denver Pavilions has the potential to be the highest profile retail project in downtown Denver,” says Pete Stone, senior vice president of ING Clarion Partners. “With the addition of new residential buildings and the growth in the number of office workers and visitors associated with the Convention Center nearby, and the city in general, downtown Denver is becoming more attractive to retailers.”

In a second Denver acquisition, ING Clarion has teamed up with Schitzer West, a Seattle-based company with a presence in the Colorado area, to buy two Denver office properties totaling about 262,000 sq. ft. for roughly $52 million. The venture plans to renovate the two adjacent Cherry Creek-area buildings and restore them to Class-A status.

Steve Latimer, managing director for ING Clarion Partners, says that the lack of available land makes it “extremely challenging” to add new office product to this market. ING plans to renovate these properties by making improvements in aesthetics and amenities.

And ING is getting into another venture with Menlo Equities to reposition a 100,000 sq. ft. Santa Clara, Calif., office property, in a transaction that is valued at about $20 million.

Latimer notes, “In each of these instances, we believe that we have bought excellent real estate, and with the help of our local operating partners, are positioned to enhance the quality of the improvements and generate attractive returns on the investments. We believe that implementing these improvements will position these assets to capture higher rents, and ultimately sales prices, as the economy strengths in the next few years.”