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MBC Holdings to buy Jonesboro's Indian Mall.

MBC Holdings LLC of Jonesboro said last week that it has entered into a contract to purchase the Indian Mall in Jonesboro from Warmack & Co. LLC of Texarkana, Texas, for an undisclosed price.

The 32-acre development was listed for sale at $15 million.

MBC Holdings, which is a partnership between Bruce Burrow of Jonesboro and Marty Belz of Memphis, is in a 60-day due diligence period to review and study the property, Burrow said in a news release. Burrow said his plans are to redevelop the site with as many as four major tenants, three of whom would be new to the greater Jonesboro market, "at a value in excess of $50 million."

In 1967, Indian Mall was in a race to claim bragging rights as the first mall developed in Arkansas. Forty years later, the 378,000-SF project is relegated to the status of a ghost center with only two tenants: a Sears and a Dillard's clearance center.

New stores and former tenants have moved across town to Burrow's new development, the 760,000-SF Mall at Turtle Creek. The $107 million shopping center opened in 2005.

Burrow said he plans to meet with Jonesboro city leaders about the redevelopment. Burrow cited his "concerns about the city's administration and their willingness to work with MBC Holdings to secure the entitlements allowing for the redevelopment of the property."

Burrow added that if he can't reach an agreement with the city, he won't do the deal.

Tony Thomas, the projects administrator in the Jonesboro mayor's office, said the city has not yet been approached by Burrow or his company on the Indian Mall project. He said the city has "done nothing" and plans "to do nothing to hinder Mr. Burrow" from the redevelopment.

Burrow said the new development would employ about 700 people and provide retail sales of more than $70 million per year. Construction on the project would create about 250 jobs, he said.
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Title Annotation:NE Journal: A Look at News From Northeast Arkansas
Author:Turner, Lance
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 13, 2007
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