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Ownership of the South Towne Center in Sandy will be transferred to Zell/Merrill Lynch, an affiliate of Zell/Merrill Lynch, Equity Properties and Development Co. of Chicago, under a plan approved by the federal bankruptcy court for Utah.

The Chapter 11 reorganization plan also will resolve all creditor claims. Mark N. London, Equity president, said he was pleased with the outcome of the plan. "If the few remaining contingencies in the plan and the judge's order are satisfied, we expect ownership to be completely transferred within the next few weeks.Located at 10600 S. State with 400,000 square-feet of leasable space, the shopping center was owned by Kroh-Collier Partnership, comprised of Kroh Brothers Development of Kansas and Alan Collier of Salt Lake's Collier Management and Development.

Several months ago, Collier asked that the partnership be placed involuntarily into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. His equity in the property was threatened when Zell/Merrill Lynch, which has purchased $45 million in notes on the South Towne property, attempted to foreclose as a result of Kroh Brothers filing Chapter 11 in February 1987.

London said South Towne's leasing will be managed by Rick Klock, senior leasing representative from Equity's West Coast office. Also, Equity's specialty leasing program, Equity MarketPlace, will be initiated at the center, providing short-term pushcart and kiosk leasing for specialty retailers.

Equity officials are searching for a second major department store to assist ZCMI in anchoring the mall.

The company also has hired Fotheringham & Associates of Salt Lake City to handle the public relations for South Towne and the company has contracted with Tracey Hall & Associates of Newport Beach, Calif., to coordinate several marketing and promotional campaigns.

Cineplex Odeon Corp. has announced plans to build a 10-cinema complex at South Towne with an opening scheduled for the summer of 1989.