Commercial real estate developer John Flake and his family are buying Little Rock's Pavilion in the Park shopping center for $8.85 million.
Central Properties Inc. closed Wednesday on the purchase of the 67,287-square-foot retail center at 8201 Cantrell Road. Pavilion in the Park, built in 1987, has been the longtime home of locally owned businesses that include Trio's Restaurant, Bauman's Mens Store and B. Barnett, a high-end luxury women's boutique.
"Pavilion in the Park offers the highest level of retail shopping in Arkansas with well-established businesses that have become iconic brands in Arkansas retail," Flake said in announcing the deal. "We are honored to purchase this property which is fully occupied and speaks to the desirability of this location."
The facility, which is 100% occupied, is three levels built around an open-air atrium and modeled after a European galleria. Tenants also include medical, office and other retail businesses.
"This is a signature property for Little Rock and many of the tenants are in a long lease," said Jessica Flake Dearnley, secretary of Central Properties. "There's not a whole lot we have to do on the leasing side."
Pavilion's purchase follows sales of other older Little Rock shopping centers, which also have drawn Arkansas investors focused on reviving the developments. Breckenridge Village shopping center on Rodney Parham Road was purchased for $11.3 million in mid-May by a team led by Jim Keet and his family and real estate developer Hank Kelley. That was followed shortly by a deal involving Central Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas investors who bought Riverdale Shopping Center on Cantrell Road for $16 million.
At Pavilion in the Park, the new owners plan to feature event-driven activities in the glass atrium to create more buzz for the facility and attract customers. The area is ideal to feature fashion shows and other special events that draw attention to the tenants, Dearnley said.
"There's a lot of opportunity to revitalize and do more with the atrium," she added, noting that operating an enclosed mall requires a different approach to managing the property. "They're not a traditional retail property. You can continue to give life to it and it's more like operating a village that a commercial real estate property."
Colliers of Arkansas represented the sellers, Vivicat Investors of Little Rock.
In its early stages, Dickson Flake, John's brother, was heavily involved in the property. "That makes this a kind of sentimental purchase for us," Dearnley said.