Rick Caruso teams with Texas firm to invest in retail real estate

Los Angeles shopping center magnate Rick Caruso, owner of the Grove, said Tuesday that he had formed a joint venture with financial firm TPG Capital to invest as much as $750 million in retail real estate in the West.

The partners intend to buy retail and mixed-use properties in well-established neighborhoods that aren’t performing up to their potential. Caruso, who also owns the Americana at Brand mall and residential complex in Glendale, would upgrade the properties and try to make them more profitable.

Few commercial properties have traded hands since the recession began, but Caruso thinks the market will change in favor of buyers soon as property loans come due and pressure mounts on banks and property owners to face up to their losses and let go of real estate they can’t afford.

“I think that over the next 12 to 18 months there will be more opportunities, notwithstanding the fact that the economy is getting stronger,” Caruso said.

TPG, of Fort Worth, and Caruso’s Caruso Capital have yet to buy any properties but are in negotiations to do so, Caruso said. “We’ll have one or two announcements soon.”

TPG, an international investment firm, says it has $48 billion worth of assets in a wide range of industries. Its investments have included Burger King, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Petco and Harrah’s Entertainment.