Greenville, N.C. — For much of the last 15 years, Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, was the focal point of Greenville-based BrodyCo and for its president, H.J. Brody.
Brody, along with the Zimmer family, developed Mayfaire on the site of a former farmstead outside Wilmington and lured many national retailers to the market for the first time.
Built over three phases, Mayfaire Town Center ultimately became 610,000 square feet; Brody also developed a neighboring grocery-anchored center that was over 200,000 square feet.
On June 18, it was announced that CBL & Associates — the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based REIT and a dominant owner of regional centers in North Carolina — had purchased Mayfaire Towne Center for $192 million.
“For where we were and what we could do with our resources for the project, the timing made sense for us to sell,” said H.J. Brody in an interview with Shopping Center Business. “CBL was a strategic buyer for the property because of its presence in the market.”
Brody saw CBL as a strong choice because of the company’s position in the Southeast and Carolinas, and for what the company had done with Friendly Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.
At 1.2 million square feet, Friendly Center was developed over many years by Starmount Co., another family-owned concern. Starmount sold its retail assets to CBL in 2007.
“As with Friendly Center, I think CBL has what it takes to elevate the tenant mix at Mayfaire,” Brody said. “The company has the wherewithal and capital to really take it to the next level.”
Mayfaire is anchored by Belk and a 16-screen Regal Cinema, which is one of the chain’s top performers in the Carolinas, according to Brody. Other tenants include The Fresh Market, Cost Plus/World Market, Pottery Barn, ULTA and Michael’s.
The acquisition includes developable land accommodating up to 75,000 square feet of additional retail.
Mayfaire Community Center is a 210,000-square-foot center anchored by Harris Teeter, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and PetSmart as well as 48,000 square feet of auxiliary retail shops. Mayfaire Town Center and Community Center are 92.5 percent occupied.
“Wilmington is a great market,” Brody said. “Half of the market is somewhat of a secret. You have those who live there year-round, then others from around the Southeast who have houses at the beaches nearby. Mayfaire is the only top shopping center in the area.”
While Mayfaire was the largest asset in BrodyCo’s portfolio, it is not the end for the company. BrodyCo has continued development work on its 11Galleria shopping center in Greenville, which contains a number of big-box stores.
The company is also redeveloping Greenville Square shopping center into a 150,000-square-foot project in its hometown, and it continues to develop and lease its Crystal Coast Plaza in Morehead City, North Carolina. BrodyCo also retained 40 acres adjacent to Mayfaire that the company plans to develop.
“We’ll take our breath for a minute and use the lessons we learned with Mayfaire and apply those to our next projects, which this capital will allow us to do,” Brody said.
The sale of Mayfaire is not expected to result in immediate changes that will be noticed by consumers, according to BrodyCo.
“We are excited to add Mayfaire Town Center to the CBL portfolio,” said Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL, which owns more than 140 properties, including 90 malls and open-air centers.
“The Brody and Zimmer families have done a tremendous job of building Mayfaire into the preeminent retail destination in the three-county area. The mixed-use complex has become a central part of the growing and dynamic Wilmington community,” added Lebovitz.
Savills Studley, a New York-based investment capital markets group specializing in real estate, represented the seller in the transaction. Jerome R. Eatman of Lynch Eatman of Raleigh, N.C., completed the legal closing on behalf of the seller.
CBL’s stock price closed at $17.29 per share on June 18, down from $18.94 one year ago.
— Randall Shearin