The sale of Brixton Square Shopping Center slipped in under the wire as the largest retail center transaction here in 2013, closing on the last day of the year, said broker Ryan McNeill, who handled the deal.
Tracy Williams, co-owner of Edmond's 4 Corners Homes, and Oklahoma City native Trevor McNeill, manager of a Dallas investment partnership, paid $13 million for Brixton Square, on the northwest corner of Northwest Expressway and Rockwell Avenue, said Ryan McNeill, a retail specialist with Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort. The McNeills are brothers.
The buyers purchased the 125,394-square-foot property at 7101 Northwest Expressway with their Turtle Creek Townhomes LLC, doing business as Brixton Square Shopping Center. It was Williams' and Trevor McNeill's first shopping center acquisition in Oklahoma City, Ryan McNeill said.
Financing was with Jason Estes at IBC Bank.
The seller was Tulsa-based GBR Properties, which acquired it in 1992. The sale price was 3 percent less than the $13.4 million that GBR asked in 2011, according to an investment property offering packet online. GBR continues to manage the shopping center.
No institutional buy
The size of the transaction pales compared with some top-end investment sales the past several years, especially purchases since 2007 by Inland American, a Chicago-area real estate investment trust, and affiliates, ranging from $16 to $40 million.
Inland and affiliates set the tone in recent years paying top dollar for Rockwell Plaza, at the southwest corner of Rockwell and Northwest Expressway, 240 Penn Park at Interstate 240 and S Pennsylvania Avenue, Memorial Square at Memorial Road and N Pennsylvania, University North Park at University Town Center in Norman, Silver Springs Pointe near Northwest Expressway and Council Road, and The Shops at Moore at S 19th Street and Interstate 35 in Moore.
But then, in 2009, at the bottom of the Great Recession, there wasn't a single retail property transaction of more than 25,000 square feet in the metro area.
Ryan McNeill put the Brixton Square transaction in context.
“There have been a couple of larger power center sales since 2009 that have really moved the needle based on their individual size and the aggressiveness of their pricing. I refer to these as ‘institutional grade' retail assets,” he said.
“They've transacted at premiums because their buyers (real estate investment trusts) have been rewarded in their share price and have access to very low cost of funds.”
Aside from institutional investors, “The overall health of the retail investment market in Oklahoma and retail sales volume in general continues to recover in a measured and healthy way. The sale of Brixton Square, while not as large as some of the investment-grade assets, reinforces the sense that the broader retail market is healthy, stable and transacting at sensible valuations. Brixton is a great, historically stable asset bought at a good price and these are all good signs for the market.”
“Brixton Square has played an important role in the retail landscape of Oklahoma City since it was constructed in 1986,” Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort, the realty firm, said in a news release. “Under GBR's stewardship, Brixton's occupancy has consistently outperformed its market peers and has a current occupancy rate of over 95 percent.”
Brixton Square has nine buildings including two fully occupied by single tenants: Brown Mackie College and Panera Bread. Brown Mackie College is the center's largest tenant, Ryan McNeill said. Other tenants include ClearSight Lasik Center, Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services, Coldwell Banker Select, Party Galaxy and Liberty Mutual Insurance.
“We are excited to continue to build on GBR's success at the property,” Trevor McNeill said. “GBR will continue to manage the asset as they have for over 20 years — with the goal of delivering value to every tenant. This investment represents our optimism in Brixton Square and the Oklahoma City market in general. The city's future is bright and we are excited to take part in it.”
Ryan McNeill said that GBR's flexibility with Brixton Square has kept it competitive and stable.
“GBR has done an excellent job of maintaining the property with the best interest of the tenant in mind,” he said. “I think that's what's helped them be so successful over the years and you'll see that continue with the new owners. They bought it right which will enable the center to maintain its historical stability into the future.”