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A variety of tenants fill Elfindale Centre, a 57,485-square-foot shopping center on 6.7 acres at Kansas Expressway and Sunshine Street.
A variety of tenants fill Elfindale Centre, a 57,485-square-foot shopping center on 6.7 acres at Kansas Expressway and Sunshine Street.

Davis Properties adds Elfindale Centre to portfolio

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Davis Properties is the latest owner of southwest Springfield’s Elfindale Centre, a retail strip mall that has seen steady tenant turnover in recent years.

The Springfield-based commercial real estate firm closed Dec. 31 on the 57,485-square-foot shopping center at West Sunshine Street and South Kansas Expressway, said Davis Properties co-owner Patrick Harrington, who declined to disclose terms of the transaction.

Todd Chambers of Chambers Real Estate Services LLC said the 6.7-acre property was listed at $4.4 million, and a deed of trust filed with the Greene County Recorder of Deeds indicates Davis Properties borrowed $3.4 million from Guaranty Bank for the purchase.

Chambers represented Phoenix-based seller S&L Commercial Investments LLC, and J.P. Morgan Real Estate Solutions LLC brokered the sale.

Davis Properties’ holdings comprise approximately 1.5 million square feet of office, retail, industrial and warehousing space, mostly in Springfield, Bolivar and Waynesville, according to its Web site, www.warrendavisproperties.com. Harrington said Davis Properties last acquired a retail shopping center in September 2003, when the company bought Kansas Square at the northeast corner of South Kansas Expressway and West Battlefield Road.

Center specs

Chambers Real Estate Services managed Elfindale Centre, 1601–1701 W. Sunshine St. and 171 South Kansas Ave., for the past 18 months, and Chambers said he began soliciting prospective buyers – a small but distinguished group that included Davis Properties – in June.

“I would say there were a limited number of people that had the experience necessary and the financial wherewithal to be successful with that type of property,” Chambers said. “From the first time I talked to (Davis Properties co-owner) Warren Davis, he expressed an interest in the property.”

Harrington said Davis Properties has long been eyeing opportunities in southwest Springfield, where apartment buildings are multiplying along a busy commuting corridor.

“I think that whole corridor out Sunshine to (U.S. Highway) 60 … is a growing area and that’s why were interested in that part of town,” he said.

In terms of gross leasable space, Elfindale Centre is No. 22 out of the city’s 38 largest retail centers, according to a July 2007 study by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Elfindale Centre falls between Plaza Towers and Morris Corners, which houses Springfield’s only Toys R Us store; Battlefield Mall tops the study’s list with 1.2 million square feet and French Quarter Plaza is the smallest with just 26,000 square feet.

Tenant interest

The average lease rate at Elfindale Centre – built in 1987 – is $8.50 per square foot, according to the chamber study.

Davis Properties doesn’t plan to immediately raise lease rates, said Harrington, who noted that many of the center’s tenants are operating under the terms of existing contracts.

Four Elfindale Centre vacancies featured on the company’s Web site are listed at $10 a square foot.

“It’s going to be real competitive rate-wise, just based on the fact that we’re a lot more competitive than newly constructed centers,” Harrington said.

When C.W. Hocklander, owner of Hocklander Jewelry, started leasing space in Elfindale Centre for his jewelry repair shop in 1990, he paid $6 a square foot. Today, his lease rate is up to $8 per square foot – and that’s about as high as he’s willing to go.

“I wouldn’t want to pay much more,” he said. “There’s so many strip centers around. There’s vacancies in so many of them.”

Hocklander signed his first lease with Howard Stancer, who later sold to S&L Commercial out of Arizona. He said he was pleased to hear that Elfindale Centre’s new owners were local. “I’m tickled that it happened,” he said.

Hocklander is hopeful Davis Properties will line up more retail tenants capable of generating foot traffic. Right now, Hocklander said, foot traffic is limited to customers of the nearby Firestone automotive center who wander down to the center while waiting for their cars.

Despite some leaky roof problems solved by Chambers Real Estate, Hocklander has few complaints about his location in Elfindale Centre’s east end. He said his customers have grown accustomed to the store’s convenience and plentiful parking.

Harrington said Davis Properties isn’t planning any major renovations for Elfindale Centre.

“We’re going to make some minor improvements to it, some cosmetic stuff and deferred maintenance,” he said. “It’s a good-looking shopping center in a good location, and it’s in pretty good shape, too.”[[In-content Ad]]

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