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Wynmark Co. joins Alba Village project

While the Rubik's Cube shuffle of tenants and space continues behind closed doors, additional players have emerged in the development of Alba Village at the Northgate Centre planned for the old Medco property in northwest Medford.

Wynmark Co., a real estate acquisition and development company from Santa Barbara, Calif., has secured half-interest in Alba Village LLC. The company founded by Mark Linehan in 1993 will oversee construction and serve as managing partner for the 41-acre shopping center. Medford developer Steve Morgan and San Francisco investor Guy Farthing own the other half of Alba Village.

"After interviewing major REITs (real estate investment trusts) and private developers, we thought Mark would have the best impact in attracting nationwide tenants," Morgan said. "We've been offered large dollars from major REITs and shopping center companies. But we have no intention of selling; we're going to operate and hold on to this — we're in for the long haul."

Morgan had hoped to announce major tenants by now, but his real estate advisers thought otherwise and it likely will be weeks before the project's tenants are revealed. Still, he said infrastructure plans will go to the city in February with grading, pad construction, sewer and similar work beginning next summer. The first 250,000 square feet of retail space is projected to be ready in fall 2009.

"We feel confident enough about our leasing that we have authorized work on the civil engineer drawings," Morgan said.

Wynmark recently wrapped up Shadow Mountain Marketplace, a 364,000-square-foot shopping center in Las Vegas. The company built and owns Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta, Calif., near Santa Barbara.

"We don't like to do too many projects at one time. We finish one and start the next," Linehan said. "Alba Village will be our primary focus in 2008 and 2009."

Wynmark typically buys land, obtains entitlements, permits, hires architects, engineers, assists with design and secures tenants.

"We usually handle things A through Z. But this was unique because Steve Morgan already had Northgate going and had gone through the City Council before we came into the game," Linehan said. "It's a little nicer that we don't have to go through that. We'll see if we can't lock down all the major tenants by the first of the year."

The Los Angeles office of Carter & Burgess Inc., which frequently works with retailers, is the project's architect.

Steve Neville of New & Neville Real Estate Services in Portland is lining up tenants for the shopping center.

"We have a myriad of letters of intent and we're going back and forth with tenants," Neville said. "There's constant negotiation about rent, timing, co-tenancy and tenant improvements — how much the landlord is willing to build for (a stated) rent, store size and use. We're into the lease documents with several people. There is nothing unusual about this; it's all happening per plan. We're moving full tilt, but it's a process people outside of real estate don't understand."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

This is a draft of Alba Village at Northgate Centre planned for the old Medco property in northwest Medford.