Sun Life lists East Dallas shopping center amid surging retail demand 

Marketed as value-add opportunity, with redevelopment in play 

Sun Life’s Kevin Strain with Skillman Live Oak Center (JLL, sunlife, Getty)
Sun Life’s Kevin Strain with Skillman Live Oak Center (JLL, sunlife, Getty)

Sun Life Assurance is looking to offload an East Dallas shopping center at a time of surging retail demand in North Texas.

The Toronto-based firm has hired JLL brokers Erin Lazarus and Adam Howells to sell the 74,700-square-foot Skillman Live Oak Center, at 2014 Skillman Street, in the affluent Lakewood neighborhood, the Dallas Business Journal reported

Sun Life Assurance bought the property in 2015, fresh off a $3 million to $4 million renovation by the previous owner, Stonelake Capital Partners. 

The shopping center, at the intersection of Skillman and Live Oak streets, is 77 percent leased, with tenants including Society Bakery and Tea Room, Black Swan Yoga and Paradigm Fitness. The property has lost a few key tenants in the past year, though, such as restaurants Buzzbrews and Matt’s Rancho Martinez.

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JLL is playing it up as an opportunity to immediately enhance its value through lease-up and redevelopment. The complex has about 10,000 square feet of available space and average rent is about 19 percent below market, according to marketing materials.

Retail has emerged as perhaps the strongest commercial real estate sector in Dallas-Fort Worth, following a few rocky years during the pandemic, which accelerated an increase of e-commerce. 

Through the third quarter of last year, investors had poured more than $1.3 billion into DFW shopping centers. Just 4.3 percent of retail space was vacant in the region, and about 1.2 million square feet of retail space was leased, outweighing the 915,600 square feet of new supply. Shopping center rents were up 8 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, enhancing their appeal among investors.

The only potential drawback to DFW’s retail market is a looming supply shortage, which could continue to drive up rents and render them unaffordable. Developers are slow to meet the need for more retail space amid high interest rates and construction costs, along with a tight lending climate.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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