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Canyon-Johnson closes new $1b Urban Fund III.

The Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, a partnership of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, announced the closing of its $1 billion Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund III.

The third fund, which eclipses the combined $900 million in equity of the two predecessor funds, will facilitate more than $4 billion in new development and urban revitalization in the top 40 U.S. metropolitan markets. The fund's focus is to identify, enhance and capture value through the development, redevelopment, acquisition and repositioning of real estate in densely populated, ethnically diverse neighborhoods with strong market fundamentals for retail and housing.

Fund III received commitments from a broad range of public and private pension funds, endowments, foundations and investment companies from throughout the nation, most of which participated in CJUF I and II. In addition to meeting its financial bottom-line investment objectives, CJUF III will seek to provide and foster economic opportunities for underserved residents of the urban neighborhoods in which it invests and to enhance the environment by pursuing LEED certifications and supporting transit-oriented housing that helps to reduce traffic and accompanying emissions.

"The success of the Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds has proven that investing in ethnically diverse markets can not only generate strong financial returns, but also benefit local communities and facilitate a positive environmental impact," said Bobby Turner, the fund's managing partner.

"The continued investment by our institutional capital partners and the sheer scope and size of the third fund and its resulting capacity for revitalization in urban neighborhoods speaks volumes about the continued opportunities in our nation's cities."

Since inception in 2001, the Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds have invested in transactions encompassing a diverse mix of property types including retail, residential, mixed-use, commercial and industrial in a diverse group of urban markets including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

In total, Canyon-Johnson has already facilitated $4 billion of development, making the funds the country's preeminent "value-added" capital partner for urban revitalization.

The size of CJUF III will help achieve the Canyon-Johnson vision to create an urban landscape that encompasses the residential, retail and entertainment amenities that are so abundant in suburban communities, providing confidence, economic prosperity and a safe and healthy place to live for urban residents.

Market fundamentals point to continued growth in ethnically diverse communities across America.

Over the next 10 years, population growth will generate demand for 14.6 million units of housing, with minority populations projected to account for 70 percent of that demand.

Moreover, urban retail represents an unmatched investment opportunity due not only to the gap between supply and demand of retail within inner cities, but also demand density.

"The potential for continued revitalization in ethnically diverse communities is nearly limitless," Earvin "Magic" Johnson said. "At Canyon-Johnson, we always make sure to listen to what people in urban communities want, not tell them what they need.

"We want residents to embrace our projects by patronizing them and respecting them. Canyon-Johnson has shown that having a financial investment component and making a significant social impact do not have to be mutually exclusive."
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Title Annotation:Banking & Finance
Comment:Canyon-Johnson closes new $1b Urban Fund III.(Banking & Finance)
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Apr 30, 2008
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