Alexander Haagen III

Alexander Haagen Properties Inc.

Age: 54

Specialty: Developing and marketing shopping centers

Recent Deal: Obtaining a $235 million capital infusion from a unit of investment banker Lazard Freres.

Alexander Haagen III has always liked to build things.

Haagen was there as a college-age construction supervisor to help build his family's first shopping center in Rosemead in 1963.

And he's looking forward to building more shopping centers with the $235 million Alexander Haagen Properties is receiving in the next two years from Lazard Freres Real Estate Investors.

Haagen, who carries the title of vice chairman of the family firm-turned real estate investment trust, said he functions more like a CEO a sort of "jack-of-all-trades" at the company. He tends to focus on development, construction and marketing, while his father and other executives handle financing. But he's been involved in every phase of the company at one time or another.

"I started out very young in real estate. I actually got my license when I was 18," said Haagen. "I was in charge of everything from the original land grading to the construction and helping with the tenant improvements," Haagen said. He even bought and planted the flowers and shrubs for the original center's landscaping, while his mother handled small tenant leasing and his father negotiated with larger tenants.

Haagen said he is particularly proud of the many inner-city centers the company has built, as well as innovative designs and tenants it has introduced to Southern California such as furniture retailer IKEA.

Aside from the family business, one of Haagen's favorite pursuits is the Empire Polo Club in Palm Springs, of which he is founder, president and owner. The club, where Disney's Michael Eisner goes to relax, hosts horse shows and corporate events, ranging from large, companywide gatherings to small groups of top-level corporate managers.

"I've gotten a great deal of pleasure out of working with the family to create a special niche in our industry," he said.

Bob Howard

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