Lenoir City, Tenn., shopping center sold for $12M

By Josh Flory knoxnews.com

A shopping center and acreage in Lenoir City have been sold for more than $12 million.

An entity called Town Creek at Knoxville, LLC, has purchased the The Market at Town Creek, and is planning to re-launch a marketing campaign for the property. The Market is located at 455 Highway 321 North and is anchored by a Food City grocery store.

The buyer paid $12.1 million for the shopping center, 20 acres of undeveloped land and three outparcels.

Joseph Goldstein, senior vice president of Savannah, Ga-based development firm David Garfunkel & Company, said that company focuses primarily on shopping center properties throughout the Southeast, and Goldstein said a group he's involved with also owns a shopping center in Loudon.

Goldstein said Garfunkel & Company will manage the property, while Keller Williams Realty and Oliver Smith Realty & Auction Company will assist with marketing.

The seller on the deal was Roswell, Ga.-based real estate firm Mimms Enterprises. The shopping center opened in late 2008, just as the economic downturn was hammering the retail real estate market across the country.

"I really, really hope this paves the way for what, to me, is one of the best projects that's left undeveloped," said Michael Price, Jr., a Keller Williams broker who represented Mimms on the deal. Price added that the community is a "highly under-retailed area."

Price's father, Michael Price, Sr., is a broker with Oliver Smith Realty, which represented the buyer on the deal. The elder Price cited "leakage" from the Loudon County area to shopping centers in West Knoxville, saying that if residents "don't have to drive 12 miles up the interstate to Turkey Creek or even the mall that's not what they want to do."

The site is adjacent to a 267-acre development called Town Creek, which in 2010 was acquired at a foreclosure auction by an affiliate of Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies. Last year, that company tapped Knoxville-based First Commercial Real Estate to handle sales and marketing for the project.