A new real estate fund led by four notable business leaders in Northwest Arkansas has closed its first acquisition for $32.32 million.
OZRE Capital is the new owner of a large portion of Village on the Creeks, a 40-acre commercial development along Interstate 49 in Rogers. The real estate fund is managed by Steve Brooks and Conner Eldridge, partners with Rogers law firm Eldridge Brooks, and Tom Gordon and Greg Smart, founders of Fayetteville-based restaurant chain Slim Chickens.
OZRE stands for Ozark Real Estate and Equity. A statement provided to Talk Business & Politics said OZRE Capital grew out of mutual interest by the partners in investing in real estate and other equity opportunities in Northwest Arkansas.
“We are thrilled to have completed the sizeable acquisition of a centerpiece of the Northwest Arkansas commercial landscape,” the statement noted. “Village on the Creeks is a unique property that proudly serves numerous businesses, is in an important and visible location in Northwest Arkansas, and, we believe, will be a good investment for years to come.”
OZRE purchased Village on the Creeks LLC from CapRocq Core Real Estate Fund II, a Little Rock-based real estate investment fund.
Village on the Creeks was built between 1996 and 2001 and is considered the region’s first true mixed-use development. The 20 buildings that changed hands — some of the buildings in the original development remain privately owned — total 220,153 square feet. Village on the Creeks features a walking trail around the perimeter and direct access to the Razorback Regional Greenway trail system. The property houses a diverse mix of tenants, including many national and international consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, vendors, small businesses, healthcare professionals, professional services firms, restaurants and retail establishments.
OZRE partners added, “We see this purchase as the first of many commitments and investments OZRE and our partners will make in Northwest Arkansas real estate, commercial projects and other ventures.”
Little Rock-based Encore Bank backed the purchase with a loan and mortgage of $24.24 million. The seller was represented by Kevin Huchingson, Isaac Smith and Steve Lane with Colliers International Arkansas.
Devereux Management, led by Dewitt Smith, has served as property manager of Village on the Creeks for 10 years and will continue to do so. Smith was part of a partnership that purchased Village on the Creeks in 2010 for $22.25 million. The previous owner, Carmen Lehman, transferred ownership of Village on the Creeks, originally a $30 million development, to Arvest Bank in 2009. Lehman and her then-husband Arnold “Tuffy” Lehman were the original developers.
CapRocq took ownership of a large portion of Village on the Creeks — aside from the privately owned buildings — in 2014.
Eldridge told Talk Business & Politics the buildings now owned by OZRE make up roughly 75% to 80% of the entire Village on the Creeks development.