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KATY, TX-Local developer Simpkins Group has acquired 213 acres surrounding the 1.3-million-sf Katy Mills Mall from Mills Corp. in Chevy Chase, MD. The new owner, securing a $22.56-million loan to buy the land, plans to carve it into pad sites and flip them.

Weir Goodwin, senior director of investments for Chicago-based Wrightwood Capital Corp., which provided the financing, says the land at Interstate 10 and Katy Fort Bend Road has its infrastructure in place. He tells GlobeSt.com that Mills installed utilities for future development, but the land lay dormant. Simpkins’ plan is to sell 68 acres on the south side of Interstate 10 for an undetermined development use, with the remaining 145 acres to be sold for a mix of commercial and retail uses.

Goodwin isn’t ruling out the possibility that Simpkins will develop some of the acreage. “Simpkins is a vertical developer. He’s an investor in tracts for third-party developers,” Goodwin says. “My sense is that most of the sales will be to other developers, but if the market proves strong, I wouldn’t be surprised if Simpkins came in and started to do something vertically.”

Goodwin says Wrightwood Capital provided the acquisition financing because of the land’s proximity to Katy Mills and Katy’s growth. “What we looked at was the end-user acquisition of subdivided tracts. And, we’re convinced there’s a significant sell-out value for the land,” he adds.

CB Richard Ellis’ Houston team has been tapped to market the land, which has been tagged at $5.50 per sf to $20 per sf. Tracts range from two to 43 acres. Greg Young of Live Oak Capital Ltd. in Houston arranged the 36-month loan.

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