By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Wednesday’s closed sale auction of Gainesville Outlet Shops on North Interstate 35 possibly ended Woodcrest Capital LLC’s ownership of the mall, though company officials declined comment.
Repeated attempts to reach Woodcrest owner Jim Ryffel were unsuccessful Wednesday, and Woodcrest representatives Teresa Manire and Trent Gilley declined to release any information about whether their company still owns the facility.
The 320,000-square-foot outdoor mall, built and opened in Gainesville in 1993, went up for bid Monday at a starting price of $800,000. Its retail facility package included new canopies and landscaping features, a children’s play area, a 120-unit security camera system and a 28-foot LED display that was installed in 2010, and was valued at $400,000 during the auction.
In early January 2010, a Register story reported the original purchase of Gainesville Factory Shops by Woodcrest — a company that also owns Texas retail venues such as shopping centers and malls and office space in Plano, Benbrook, Saginaw and Arlington and Azle and San Angelo. The bulk of Woodcrest’s properties, the story said, remain in the Fort Worth area, closer to the company’s home office.
The sale to Woodcrest followed a foreclosure during fall 2008, which itself later resulted in a $5 million sale to Plano-based Viewpoint Bank in a public auction at the Cooke County Courthouse.
And this week’s proposed auction sale of Gainesville Outlet Shops was the apparent result of a steady decline of shoppers that, itself, followed other declines that were also observed while the outlet mall was operated by companies Canyon Creek Development and Prime Retail through the past two decades. When Woodcrest purchased the outlet mall in January 2010, it sported only 24 open shops in a facility that began with a capacity for 84 units.
Today, the outdoor shopping center has 10 open shops plus a “How Bazaar” indoor vendor market open on weekends.
Woodcrest representatives assured more information about auction results in an upcoming statement.