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Caruso Affiliated Names First-Ever Chief Operating Officer

Expansion plan is designed to double the company's size in the next five years

Caruso Affiliated, developer of the proposed Miramar Hotel project in Montecito, has embarked on a comprehensive expansion program that is designed to double the firm’s size in the next five years, according to founder and CEO Rick Caruso.

To accommodate this substantial growth, Caruso Affiliated has established for the first time in its 20-year history the position of chief operating officer and selected Paul Kurzawa, executive vice president of operations, to fill this pivotal role. Caruso outlined the company’s business goals and platform for growth at a recent employee meeting.

In just the past 10 years, the company has grown at a compounded rate return of 20 percent per annum, far outpacing its national competitors. Caruso Affiliated has steadily built its retail portfolio while also making strategic moves into new real estate types such as luxury residential communities and hotel development, and last year launched a division to pursue airport retail opportunities.

“Paul has been an exceptional leader at our firm and shown tremendous skill at increasing revenue, managing people and upholding our values and brand,” Caruso said. “With Paul in this new role to oversee day-to-day operations, I can fully focus on the firm’s strategic vision, including our expansion into new business lines and new developments.”

Kurzawa brings 15 years of retail center management experience to the position of COO. He joined Caruso Affiliated in 2006 and most recently held the position of executive vice president. He has been responsible for oversight of all of its property management, marketing, leasing and financial reporting performance.

“Caruso Affiliated continues to be the industry leader in developing the highest quality and most productive lifestyle shopping centers and residential communities in the United States,” Kurzawa said. “As the economy shows signs of recovery, our company is well positioned to raise the standards of shopping centers once again through the integration of new retail, dining and entertainment together with emerging technology to deliver a superior guest experience, unique to our portfolio.”

Caruso Affiliated also announced two additional executive changes, naming Jackie Levy as senior vice president of operations and Matt Middlebrook as senior vice president of development; both will report to Kurzawa.

As senior vice president of operations, Levy will have direct responsibility for all property management functions for the company’s retail and residential assets. Levy joined Caruso Affiliated in 2006 as assistant general manager for The Grove. He advanced to the position of general manager of The Americana at Brand and most recently was vice president of operations assisting Kurzawa.

As senior vice president of development, Middlebrook will oversee the firm’s projects in pre-development and development such as 8500 Burton Way, The Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows in Montecito, and Caruso Affiliated’s bid for the retail operations at Terminal 2 and Thomas Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. Middlebrook joined Caruso in 2004 and has been handling its government relations activities, including securing entitlements for new developments. Middlebrook has 20 years of experience in a variety of government and related positions.

In the past 20 years, Caruso Affiliated has completed new developments and property repositioning throughout Southern California and, in the process, has redefined the retail industry by establishing new standards for retail environments.

— Ashley Greer is a publicist.

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