Country Club Plaza: A billion dollar deal?

Posted at 9:02 AM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 10:02:55-04

A billion dollars.

Commercial real estate insiders say there will be a lot of zeroes in the purchase price for
Kansas City's Country Club Plaza.

Its owner, Highwoods Properties, made the announcement it had put the shopping district up for sale on Wednesday.

RELATED| For sale: Kansas City's Country Club Plaza

Highwoods Properties put the 55 acres on the market this week after owning and operating it for 17 years.

Many call the Plaza Kansas City's 'Crown Jewel', known for its Seville-inspired architecture and as the nation's first outdoor shopping center.

Real estate attorney Spencer Thomson said the time is right for commercial real estate sellers. He said the deals are more lucrative for sellers now than they have been in the last ten years.

Thomson predicted the Plaza deal will attract a lot of interest from large institutional companies worldwide.

"I certainly wouldn't be surprised with an entity like the Plaza to see buyers come from all over the world frankly...certainly from throughout the United States," said Thomson. "I would not be surprised to see some from Asia or the Middle East who are looking for quality places to put capital."

Several other spaces like Corporate Woods and the Legends have also recently gone on the market, signaling the commercial real estate industry has rebounded strongly and the economy is in recovery.

Highwoods Properties plans to use its profits from the Plaza sale to pay back debt incurred by two other office purchases in Atlanta and Tampa.

Plaza merchants, particularly the few remaining local merchants, are cautiously optimistic about what the change could bring.

The GM of the Classic Cup, Jeff Brack, said the locally owned restaurant has been on the Plaza for 25 years.

"Being that we have a strong business right now and we're able to make things go as a local place I feel like they want to keep us down here.. that we are a draw," said Brack.

Insiders said customers would likely see little change on the Plaza since what's happening there is working:  from the big chain retailers, to signature events like the Plaza Art Fair to security and the appreciation for the Spanish architecture.

Highwoods Properties acquired the Plaza in 1998 from the J.C. Nichols Company for $544 million.

In recent years, it began to sell its other metro holdings: Prairie Village Shops, Corinth Square and Fairway Shops.

Highwoods Properties wants the Plaza sale done by early 2016.


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