We reported earlier today that the owners of the land occupied by University Mall had no plans to sell it, but that's apparently not the case. Roby Brock's Talk Business blog reports that Strode Development, the Dallas company behind the Midtowne shopping center, announced today that they'd purchased the property and plan to put in a mixed-use, open-air shopping center called Park Avenue. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, and Strode's not saying if they have any tenants lined up yet. It's not clear what the sale will do to the former owners' lawsuit against Simon Property Group, the company that operated the mall and recently gave notice to its few remaining tenants that their leases would be terminated
UPDATE: news release on jump,
CRANFORD JOHNSON NEWS RELEASE
Strode Property Company of Dallas,
Texas, announced today that it has purchased University Mall in Little Rock
and will redevelop the area into a mixed-use open-air lifestyle complex to
be called Park Avenue. Contrary to an earlier report, Simon Property Group
Inc. has no further involvement with the project.
Strode Property recently developed and opened Midtowne Little Rock, an
upscale lifestyle shopping center that has attracted a host of specialty
retailers and restaurants. Park Avenue and Midtowne Little Rock occupy
opposite corners of the University Avenue/Markham Street intersection,
further strengthening the retail dynamics in Little Rock¹s Midtown corridor.
Details of the transaction were not disclosed, and no tenants have been
confirmed at this time.
³Like Midtowne Little Rock, my hope is for Park Avenue to bring new life to
the University Avenue corridor and continue the ongoing redevelopment
efforts of Little Rock¹s central area,² said Jim Strode, of Dallas.
³Mr. Strode¹s plans for Park Avenue prove his commitment to the
redevelopment of this area of Little Rock,² said Little Rock Mayor Mark
Stodola. ³This redevelopment fits perfectly with the ongoing plans for
revitalization of the University Avenue and 12th Street corridors,
redevelopment of War Memorial Park, the expansions of St. Vincent Health
System and UAMS, and the improvements in infrastructure along University
Avenue. The Park Avenue project will be the crown jewel in the final
development of Little Rock's historic Midtown area.²
Current University Mall tenants have been given notice to vacate the
building within the next 30 days. The outdated structure will be demolished
afterwards to make way for the development of Park Avenue.
Strode¹s Midtowne Little Rock, which opened in October 2006, has attracted
a number of upscale retailers including Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma.
The Container Store is scheduled to open in Midtowne Little Rock in March
Strode Property Company was founded in 1979 by James E. Strode, and
specializes in developing high-quality urban retail shopping centers and
credit build-to-suit opportunities. Over 28 successful years, the company
has developed and managed over 5,000,000 square feet of retail shopping and
build-to-suit properties throughout the South.