VOL. 9 | NO. 9 | Saturday, February 27, 2016
EMPHASIS Commercial Real Estate
Retail Projects in Memphis Suburbs, Oxford Staple of Trezevant Realty Corp.
By K. Denise Jennings | Special to The Daily News
Germantown-based Trezevant Realty Corp. has deep roots in the Mid-South commercial real estate market, and the uptick in the economy has more projects moving full-steam ahead.
John Trezevant, son of Mall of Memphis developer Stanley Trezevant, was raised in the commercial real estate business and gained valuable training working for two West Coast shopping center developers before returning to Memphis to build and lease some of the most well-known shopping centers in and around Memphis and Oxford, Miss.
John Trezevant in front of Fresh Market on Poplar in Germantown. His company has developed several shopping centers in the Memphis area and Oxford. (Memphis News/Andrew J. Breig)
Founded in the mid-1980s, Trezevant Realty boasts retail staples such as 800,000-square-foot Market at Wolfcreek across from Wolfchase Galleria which houses Target and Best Buy; Cordova Town Center; The Collierville Marketplace; the Market of Riverdale Bend; Thousand Oaks Business Center; and the Houston Levee Galleria.
While working on the Houston Levee project, Trezevant turned his attention to Oxford, home of his alma mater. His son Taylor, who now heads up Trezevant’s leasing in their Oxford office, was in school there in the early 2000s when Trezevant developed its first project there, the Oxford Marketplace, a shopping center anchored by Wal-Mart at Highway 6 and West Jackson Avenue.
“I went to Mississippi, too, and I stayed in touch with lots of friends in North Mississippi,” John Trezevant said. “The development in Oxford primarily occurred when I knew my son was going to be there for four years. Now (he’s) in charge of leasing the Oxford Galleria.”
Phase I of the multi-phased Oxford Galleria project was a $25 million shopping center that Trezevant developed with Memphis partners which brought in much sought after big-box retailers like Belk, Kinnucan’s, Pet Smart, Ann Taylor Loft and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Phase II, a $45 million project that will include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshall's, Ross, Five Below and regional restaurant chain Mugshots Grill & Bar is currently under construction. Adjacent to the retail development is Parkway Center, an office park on West Oxford Loop that Trezevant is developing with other Oxford partners.
The company is taking full advantage of improving market conditions for commercial real estate.
“The difference is night and day from ’08,’09 and ’10 when there was no commercial real estate. It picked back up in 2010-2011. Our business is a direct correlation about which department stores want to expand. If a Dillard’s, Pet Smart or Wal-Mart want to expand, then we’re in business. If none of those stores want to expand, we’re not doing building projects the size of the one in Oxford.”
A former partner on a few commercial projects, David Halle, president of Halle Investment Co., says Trezevant’s strength lies in his reputation.
“His company is well-known, and his ability to perform is well-known and respected,” Halle said. “The connections he has in friendships and business are key to his success, and he’s good at what he does. He also knows all the people at the national level, which is important when you’re doing shopping centers.”
Phillip McNeill Sr., who has worked with Trezevant on several projects including Oxford Marketplace, said Trezevant is great at ferreting out good locations and leasing space.
“Doing a good job on location and leasing makes a project valuable, because it’s not valuable if you don’t have a lease,” McNeill said.
Trezevant says some retailers who fill those leases are in expansion mode after being dormant for several years, and he believes that the outlook for brick and mortar stores is still good.
“We’re out of the recession,” he said. “Growth is not rampant, but it appears to be gaining momentum. Dick’s is opening 60 stores this year.
“The demise of bricks-and-sticks retail in favor of dot-com is over exaggerated,” Trezevant added. “Most people still like going to stores, picking up, trying on and taking home.”
As for the direction of his business, Trezevant said the company’s developments will remain mostly in Oxford, Germantown and Collierville.
“We don’t do anything in Memphis anymore after the Mall of Memphis implosion in 2002-2003,” said Trezevant, who just brokered the sale of the100-acre Mall of Memphis site that will likely become a freight truck dealership.
“In the greater Memphis area, you have a small portion of the population carrying a much larger portion, and that tipping point is not overlooked by employers looking to relocate,” said Trezevant. “Memphis is not getting new employers, and that is 100 percent due to our leadership. Hopefully the new leadership is more responsible than in the past.”
While retail is still the main staple of Trezevant Realty’s commercial real estate developments, the company has done Poplar Grove and Strathmore, both high-end residential developments in Germantown and Collierville, and they’re planning to do one in Oxford and possibly Nashville.
Trezevant plans to stay the course.
“We’re always hopeful that we’ll have a shopping center or two on the board trying to advance to construction,” he said, “and build an office or two every couple of years given the opportunity.”