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Books-A-Million subsidiary Preferred Growth Properties bought the Mandarin South shopping center. PGP invests in properties to lease to tenants, and for possible redevelopment.

Books-A-Million subsidiary buys Mandarin South center

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Books-A-Million real estate subsidiary Preferred Growth Properties LLC has invested in Jacksonville, buying the Mandarin South shopping center this week for $4.7 million.

PGP Jacksonville LLC, which is based at Books-A-Million’s corporate headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., bought the center Monday. The sale was recorded Tuesday with the Duval County Clerk of Court.

Preferred Group Properties develops and manages commercial real estate. The Books-A-Million annual report says that as of Feb. 1, the company owned and operated two shopping centers in Florence and Gardendale, Ala., comprising 254,000 square feet.

Mandarin South is at 11700 San Jose Blvd., at southwest San Jose Boulevard and Loretto Road.

Bank of the Ozarks, which took title to the property in December, sold the 4.9-acre, almost 70,000-square-foot center to PGP. The 2014 market value in progress is $3.95 million.

The center comprises three buildings developed in 1982. The available anchor space is up to 45,000 square feet and formerly housed a Winn-Dixie at least 20 years ago. Mandarin South is about 64 percent vacant.

The Mandarin South buyer is PGP Jacksonville LLC, whose mailing address is 402 Industrial Lane in Birmingham, which is Books-A-Million’s corporate base. James F. Turner is the limited liability company’s contact.

Turner is Books-A-Million’s executive vice president of real estate and business development and president of Preferred Growth Properties.

PGP Jacksonville LLC was filed June 26 as a Delaware corporation. Late Wednesday evening, Turner responded by email and referred questions to a spokesman. The spokesman could not be reached early this morning.

Jacksonville-based Cantrell & Morgan Inc. represented the buyer in the sale and also handles leasing and property management for Mandarin South.

Co-founder and CEO Chris Morgan said the acquisition was an investment purchase by the private limited liability company and no specific tenants are in tow.

Morgan said there are no plans to redevelop the site, but there is the potential investment to do so later. The buyer “will look at things down the road, but there are no immediate plans.”

He said Cantrell & Morgan partner Jim Loftin handled the deal.

“They just bought it because it is a great piece of real estate,” Morgan said.

The Books-A-Million annual report says PGP leases its properties to tenants. Mandarin South is smaller than the first two purchases. The Florence center is about 97,926 square feet and the Gardendale center is about 156,386 square feet.

Based on PGP’s previous investments, Mandarin South can expect activity.

Books-A-Million Executive Chairman Clyde Anderson said in the company’s annual report that fiscal 2014, which ended Feb. 1, “brought expansion of our real estate segment” as the company achieved full occupancy and obtained long-term financing on the Florence shopping center. It also bought its second shopping center in Gardendale and began a redevelopment to expand it to accommodate new anchor tenants.

Books-A-Million operates three stores in the Jacksonville area — Regency Park, the Beaches and Orange Park. Books-A-Million previously had a store at the Riverplace Shopping Center at 11111 San Jose Blvd., but closed it in early 2012. That site is a mile north of Mandarin South.

The acquisition raises questions whether Books-A-Million might consider the center for one of its 2nd & Charles stores, although Morgan said Mandarin South was not purchased for that purpose.

The 2nd & Charles stores are large locations that specialize in trading used books, audio books, CDs, DVDs, videogames, game systems, vinyl records and accessories.

The 2ndandcharles.com site shows 19 locations in 14 states — two each in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina and one each in Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

The Alabama locations are in Dothan and Hoover/Birmingham.

Books-A-Million was founded in 1917 and sells on the Internet at booksamillion.com. As of Feb. 1, it operated 261 stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Of the 261 stores, 200 are superstores that operate under the names Books-A-Million, BAM!, Books & Co. and 2nd & Charles, and 61 are traditional stores that operate under the Bookland, Books-A-Million and BAM! names.

The company also operates Yogurt Mountain, a retailer and franchisor of self-serve frozen yogurt stores totaling 43 locations.

Mandarin South features a Wood You Furniture and AutoZone, among other tenants.

A separate building near the center is owned by San Jose Plaza Jax LLC, whose manager is Leonard Setzer. That space, a former Pic N’ Save discount store, is anchored by Bailey’s Powerhouse Gym and DogTown USA. It is not involved in the sale. The Setzer family founded Pic N’ Save.

Retail notes

• Apricot Lane Boutique is building out in The Avenues mall. It is a women’s fashion and accessories store.

• Natural Life and fab-rik are completing their stores in St. Johns Town Center. Fab’rik is a women’s boutique and Natural Life is a Jacksonville-based women’s and girls’ clothing, accessories and gifts store.

• Hair Cuttery is preparing to build-out space at Brooklyn Station on Riverside. Mavric Construction Inc. is the contractor. The building-permit application shows the 1,207-square-foot interior project at a cost of $53,500. Hair Cuttery will be at 150 Riverside Ave., next to Fresh Market. Brooklyn Station is the renamed Shoppes on Riverside.

Wendy’s hiring at 3 stores

Wendy’s of Florida, owned and operated by Michigan-based Meritage Hospitality Group, announced Wednesday it will start a hiring program July 15-17 for several of its Jacksonville stores. Open interviews will take place 8-11 a.m. at three stores: 4453 Southside Blvd. on July 15; 6021 Argyle Forest Blvd. on July 16; and 1830 U.S. 1 S. in St Augustine on July 17.

Meritage wants to hire 15 general managers for its 38 Wendy’s of Florida restaurants. For more information, visit wendysofflorida.com or email Jennifer Pelak at recruiting@mhgi.net.

Carlson Dental leases at EverBank Plaza

NAI Hallmark Partners announced Wednesday that Carlson Dental Group signed as a tenant at EverBank Plaza at 501 Riverside Ave. Carlson Dental will occupy 6,414 square feet of

space. It will be its second area location.

The property owner was represented by NAI Hallmark Partners Vice President Christian Harden and Carlson Dental Group was represented by Craig Meek of the Meek Companies. Meek also will provide construction management services for the project build-out by D.W. Meyers Constructors Inc.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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