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Big changes at Bassett Center

September 17, 2000
by Wendy White Polk

. . . Before there was Sunland Park Mall, back when kids used to hunt rabbits on the slopes of what is now Cielo Vista Mall, there was Bassett Center. Built in 1962 on 56 Eastside acres, Bassett was hailed as the city's first mall-type suburban shopping center. It wasn't enclosed, but there was an open-air roof covering to keep customers out of the sun and rain.

And before Bassett, people went Downtown to department stores including the Popular and the White House, and there was the smaller Chelmont center at Chelsea and Montana.

But shoppers agreed El Paso took a giant step into the modern world when Bassett opened in March 1962.

Now, 38 years later, Bassett has a new owner, a new management company and a new mission for El Paso.

Last November, Bassett was purchased by a partnership made up of two Dallas-based groups, JTL Capital LLC and Lone Star Funds II. JTL is an investment group with a portfolio of more than 70 properties in 17 states. Lone Star Funds is an investor involved with thousands of real estate debt and equity assets in this country, Europe and Asia.

"We are pleased with our purchase of Bassett Center," said David Lane, managing partner of JTL. "We are negotiating with several well-known retailers to add to our merchandise mix and bring new additions for our customers."

A few months after the sale, Basset also got a new management company.

Urban Retail Properties is now in charge of leasing, development and marketing the complex, which includes 795,000 square feet of mall space, plus eight outparcels. Major positions are held by Target Greatland and Mervyn's.

Retail Properties is part of the publicly-traded Urban Shopping Centers Inc. (NYSE: URB), which owns several of the country's premier shopping centers. Urban Shopping is a self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns, develops, and manages regional and super-regional malls. Urban ranks Bassett as a super-regional mall in a great location, within reach of three states and two countries.

Copyright © 2003. JTL Capital, LLC
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