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WASHINGTON—March 5, 2003—Poised to expand its east coast presence, CIM Group has established an office in the Washington DC metropolitan area and has named Charles E. Garner II as Managing Director.  Garner will lead CIM's investment activities throughout the eastern United States to provide funding for housing, retail, office, parking and entertainment projects that revitalize downtowns and urban districts.

A leader in California's urban renaissance, CIM Group has developed a premier portfolio of street retail, urban housing, office, parking and entertainment properties in California's most popular destinations, including Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, Old Town Pasadena, Birch Street in Brea, Hollywood Boulevard, downtown Los Angeles, San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter and downtown San Jose.

  "The history of great cities is inextricably tied to great streets.  We regularly are being approached by city officials from across the United States who want to create vibrant 'Main Street' districts like those we've spearheaded in California," said Avi Shemesh, co-founder and principal of CIM Group.  "Charlie's experience in urban investing and his knowledge of east coast urban markets will allow us to quickly identify projects," he added.

Garner has worked closely with CIM Group since 1996.  From 1989 through 1999 he was a vice president of Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), an owner, manager and developer of retail properties.  In that post, he established and managed a joint venture relationship with CIM Group.  Most recently, Garner was a consultant and advisor to CIM Group on various equity and debt transactions while a senior vice president of Walker & Dunlop, a real estate and financial services firm located in Bethesda, MD.

"The trend to rejuvenate older districts and bring an attractive urban lifestyle alternative to communities throughout the U.S. is being stimulated by changing demographics and lifestyles, the appeal of street retail districts and loft-style downtown living, and the economic and environmental costs of sprawl.  It is particularly exciting to join a company that is an acknowledged leader in this most dynamic part of the U.S. real estate landscape," said Garner.  He noted that CIM has made a positive impact in many California communities that can be duplicated throughout the country.

Garner has 16 years of real estate experience - primarily as a principal - and has been involved in over $850 million of real estate transactions including the acquisition, joint venture investment, equity and debt financing, and disposition of more than 100 properties.  He began his career as a CPA in the Washington DC office of PricewaterhouseCoopers.  He holds a BS degree in Management from Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business.

Based in Los Angeles, CIM Group is a full service real estate investor and operator organized in 1994 to rev italize districts of high population density, including the traditional downtown areas within large cities and the main street districts within towns and suburban cities.  Each CIM Group investment adapts proven land use and design principles of great urban districts to the unique strengths of the location and the needs of the community.

As manager of the CIM California Urban Real Estate Fund, CIM Group has the financial strength to make its investment vision a reality.  The fund, formed in 2001 with investments from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), is designed to pursue urban real estate investments.  More information is available at:

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