CBL Buys Big in Tar Heel State

CBL & Associates Properties always looks for opportunities to strengthen its portfolio—and has found one, in Wilmington, N.C.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

John Williams
John Williams, Savills Studley

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. has acquired the Mayfaire Town Center and Mayfaire Community Center, a Class A open-air center located in the affluent coastal market of Wilmington, N.C., from a partnership between BrodyCo Inc. and Zimmer Development Company for $192 million.

The acquisition also includes developable land accommodating up to 75,000 square feet of additional retail. Savills Studley Capital Markets Group represented the seller in the transaction.

“Mayfaire Town Center represented a tremendous opportunity for CBL to acquire a solid performing property that is part of a dynamic mixed use project,” Stephen Lebovitz, CBL’s CEO, told Commercial Property Executive. “We’re a 37-year-old company with over 140 properties nationwide; we are always looking for opportunities to strengthen our portfolio. This asset was a perfect fit with our portfolio and the goals of our portfolio transformation strategy.”

Mayfaire Town Center is a 610,000-square-foot open-air center anchored by Belk and a 16-screen Regal Cinema, as well as junior anchors including The Fresh Market, Cost Plus/World Market, Pottery Barn, ULTA and Michael’s.

Mayfaire Community Center is a 210,000-square-foot center anchored by a high-performing Harris Teeter, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and PetSmart as well as 48,000 square feet of retailer shops, including Panera Bread Co., New Balance, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Verizon.

“Mayfaire is the most dominant retail center in the region. It is a true Class A town center with a complementary and comprehensive national tenant roster,” John Williams, Savills Studley’s corporate managing director of the capital markets team, told CPE. “Tenant performance is very strong and long-term there is additional upside in the property.”

Mayfaire Town Center and Community Center are 92.5 percent occupied. The center generates more than $200 million in sales annually with shop sales of $385 per square foot.

The property is well located in a fast growing area and is near the affluent beach communities, attracting local and regional residents, second-home owners and vacationers that visit the area. Approximately 1.5 million people visit the region annually, pumping $1 billion a year into the economy.

“The city of Wilmington is a thriving and affluent market with a diverse and growing economic base,” Lebovitz said. “CBL already has a strong presence in the Carolinas and Mayfaire Town Center will enjoy a synergistic relationship with our other assets there, primarily Friendly Center in Greensboro, N.C.”

While customers will not notice any immediate changes, Lebovitz notes CBL is looking into expansion opportunities.

According to Williams, large, dominant retail centers in strong markets and/or fast growing areas are being aggressively pursued by large investors like pension funds and REITs.

“The town center concept has become very appealing as these properties take into account all potential shoppers and typically have a nice blend of entertainment, big-box retailers, department stores, supermarkets and a variety of shops and restaurants,” he said. “Mayfaire truly has something for everyone.”