Oxford’s top shopping spot has a new owner.
Cleveland-based DDR Corp sold the Oxford Exchange shopping center at Leon Smith Parkway and Interstate 20 to Azad Commercial Realty Services, a private investment group in Houston. The deal closed for $53.4 million on Dec. 28, according to Calhoun County Probate Office records.
DDR Corp had placed the 334,000 square-foot center on the market last year. The sale marks the third time chunks of the shopping center have changed hands since its opening in 2006.
“This is a very nice center that has a bright future,” Hardam Azad of Azad Commercial said in a Thursday phone interview. “We buy commercial properties all over the country and this represents a good investment for our portfolio.”
The center is 99 percent occupied and features stores including TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Best Buy and Home Depot.
“The property is strategically located along I-20, providing excellent visibility in a highly trafficked corridor and it is uniquely positioned as the only major retail hub between Atlanta and Birmingham, serving a 30-mile trade area in all directions,” said Margaret Caldwell, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, the firm that brokered the sale.
Azad said the investment group owns commercial properties in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi. The Oxford Exchange is the second Alabama property purchase for the investment group, the first being the Eastern Shore Centre in Mobile in 2016, Azad said.
“We are happier in small communities ... most of our centers are in smaller communities,” Azad said.
The site has long been a cash cow for the city of Oxford. Sales taxes from the exchange have helped pay for major city projects, including the downtown performing arts center, improvements to schools and the construction of Choccolocco Park, about mile from shopping center.
Azad said the exchange was a stable shopping center and there were no plans to make any significant changes to it.
“We will run it as is,” Azad said. “There will be no substantial changes other than giving it more tender, loving care so it continues to be a class-A property.”