Jonesboro Developers Dig Into Former Bruce Burrow Properties

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 12:00 am  

The financial travails of the man who was Jonesboro’s leading commercial developer are contributing to the mix of office and retail activity in the city.

Two high-profile properties associated with Bruce Burrow have exited his Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in tandem transactions totaling $9.4 million. A third project, the Citizens Bank Building in downtown Jonesboro, is in play.

An 11-acre piece of the former Indian Mall development recently sold for $6 million to pare Burrow’s debts. The site at the southwest corner of Caraway Road and Wilkins Avenue will become home to a Kroger Marketplace.

The Indian Mall property helped secure about $10.3 million in debt held by Centennial Bank of Conway. Net proceeds from the sale to Kroger Ltd. I, an affiliate of the Cincinnati-based grocery chain, reduced the Centennial debt by nearly $5 million.

Caraland LLC, led by Burrow and Marty Belz of Memphis, bought the mall property for $10.3 million in October 2007. According to bankruptcy filings, Caraland still owns 19 acres.

Burrow originally had redevelopment plans that included “a major department store, several junior department stores, restaurants, extensive landscaping and potentially a multi-screen movie theater.”

The open-air, mixed-use retail center, dubbed Shoppes at CaraLand, didn’t happen.

The 378,000-SF Indian Mall, once the shopping mecca of northeast Arkansas, slid into ghost center status over the years as newer retail projects made the scene. Most of the mall was razed by Burrow, leaving the 80,000-SF Sears store at the south end of the property as the last vestige of the landmark project.

In addition to the Kroger Marketplace, plans call for the construction of new retail space to adjoin the north side of Sears. The addition could total about 25,000 SF.

Office Assets

A block west of the Sears store, the 52,000-SF MBC Plaza Building at 2400 Highland Drive was purchased for $3.4 million by a Little Rock investment group led by Stephen LaFrance Jr. and his brother, Jason.

The new ownership will invest additional dollars to redo the roof, spruce up the exterior, rebuild the parking lot and reconfigure the fourth and fifth floors.



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