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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Mayfair Village, with new owners, shelters in (retail) place in Oklahoma City

Mayfair Village, a vintage shopping center along both sides of May Avenue between NW 47 and NW 50, has been  bought by local investors who plan to turn it around. [PRICE EDWARDS & CO.]
Mayfair Village, a vintage shopping center along both sides of May Avenue between NW 47 and NW 50, has been bought by local investors who plan to turn it around. [PRICE EDWARDS & CO.]

Mayfair Village is back in local hands, just in time to shelter in retail place and ride out the coronavirus storm.

The vintage shopping center, in its eighth decade, has long been known for its architectural charm — New England Cape Cod, complete with clock tower, cupolas and dormers, in the heart of northwest Oklahoma City.

It's been known as much lately for an out-of-state owner who let the place down and took it to bankruptcy.

The new owners, Caleb Hill, Nick Preftakes and Mark Ruffin — Mayfair HPR LLC — plan to spend money to improve the property at NW 50 and May Avenue.

They closed the deal March 12, the day after the never-played Thunder game that brought the attention of the new coronavirus to Oklahoma City courtesy of an infected Utah Jazz player, triggering shutdowns across society that only started with cancellation of professional basketball's remaining season the night before.

Oklahoma City woke up to stunning developments that Thursday. Hill, Preftakes and Ruffin had a purchase contract to sign.

Hill said they expect the next six months to be hard to weather, but they are in it for the long haul.

"When times are tough, this is the kind of real estate that will be occupied," he said.

Mayfair HPR paid $5.5 million for the 127,107-square-foot center, along both sides of May Avenue, in a deal brokered by Paul Ravencraft, Phillip Mazaheri, and George Williams with Price Edwards & Co.'s retail investment team. The seller was Mercer Street Holdings ONE LLC, which had bought the note on the property, then took direct ownership by foreclosure in late 2018.

Mercer Street soon sold two pad sites to Abadan Properties LLC, the CVS at 5025 N May, built in 2008, for $2,530,000, and the ALDI at 4805 N May, built in 2018, for $2,315,000. Mercer Street then readied the remaining property to sell to a developer for repositioning, said Jim Parrack, senior vice president and retail specialist at Price Edwards.

"Mayfair Village has a long and storied history in northwest Oklahoma City, sitting at the south end of the city's original shopping corridor along May Avenue," Parrack said.

Indeed, Mayfair Shopping Center, as it was first called, helped establish suburban Oklahoma City retail. Developer C.B. Warr started Mayfair in 1948, working with his son, Gene, who finished it in 1958 after the founder died.

Gene Warr operated Mayfair, including the 1989 renovation and rebranding that yielded the new Cape Cod look and new name, Mayfair Village, until he retired in 2001. Gene Warr's son, Kory, then took the lead of the family business, which included the shopping center until the Warrs sold it in 2006.

It was the Warr family's flagship commercial property for nearly 60 years. C.B. Warr, starting in 1937, also built neighborhoods of houses that became the city of Warr Acres, also in 1948.

The new owners know they've bought a property with roots.

"As the original developer, the Warr family did a great job developing, creating, and caring for Mayfair Village," Hill said, but the California investor who bought it from them 14 years ago "was not able to care for the property in the same way. We intend to inject the necessary capital improvements so to create a thriving co-tenancy, all of which will provide for a shopping center that is stable and serves our community."

Mayfair was 80% occupied at the time of the sale earlier this month, with prominent stores including Michaels and Stein Mart. Hill said he, Preftakes and Ruffin bought it to turn it around and hold it.

"It's a great retail location," Hill said. "We're going to clean it up and make it a Class A shopping center again. Not lipstick. It's going to be Class A again. Good local owners is what it's needed."

The original developer's grandson, who leads Praxis Development in Warr Acres, has never been sentimental about property or the past, but he said he's all for the new owners' investment and their plans.

"Real estate doesn’t manage itself, so Mayfair can only benefit from local ownership. Mark, Nick and Caleb are smart, experienced guys who will undoubtedly usher Mayfair into a new phase of growth and innovation. I’m rooting for them," Kory Warr said.

Related Photos
<strong>Caleb Hill</strong>

Caleb Hill

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bb128b3ad728d52d18a36a15f8974de8.jpg" alt="Photo - Caleb Hill " title=" Caleb Hill "><figcaption> Caleb Hill </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-367f962941b4adc1a131d96b74158ac3.jpg" alt="Photo - Mayfair Village, a vintage shopping center along both sides of May Avenue between NW 47 and NW 50, has been bought by local investors who plan to turn it around. [PRICE EDWARDS &amp; CO.] " title=" Mayfair Village, a vintage shopping center along both sides of May Avenue between NW 47 and NW 50, has been bought by local investors who plan to turn it around. [PRICE EDWARDS &amp; CO.] "><figcaption> Mayfair Village, a vintage shopping center along both sides of May Avenue between NW 47 and NW 50, has been bought by local investors who plan to turn it around. [PRICE EDWARDS &amp; CO.] </figcaption></figure>
Richard Mize

Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked... Read more ›

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