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Buffett gives his blessing to leased location for Star Furniture

December 7, 2018

Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest people, has personally signed off on a deal that will bring a Star Furniture & Mattresses store to a former Randalls grocery store northwest of Houston early next year.

Houston-based Williamsburg Enterprises is redeveloping the 70,000-square-foot store at 12312 Barker Cypress at U.S. 290, in Cypress. The real estate investment firm purchased the property from Randalls’ parent company, Safeway, in May.

Shortly after Randalls closed in July, Houston-based Star Furniture signed a 10-year lease for a location planned to open in the first quarter. The store is among six area Randalls stores to close this year amid lower sales, along with others in Montrose, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Garden Oaks and Stafford.

Because Star Furniture typically owns its locations, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Buffett had to approve the lease, Williamsburg Enterprises said. The Houston-based furniture retailer has seven area locations plus two outlet stores.

Nick Hernandez and Crystal Allen of Transwestern negotiated the lease for Star Furniture, which became a Berkshire Hathaway company in 1997.

Also, Landmark Industries leased the gas station site for a recently opened Timewise location. Neal Wade and Lunden McGill of Baker Katz represented the tenant. Williamsburg Enterprises’ director of leasing Jeff Warwick represented the landlord in the deals.

The Randalls purchase represents Williamsburg Enterprises’ strategy of investing in underutilized and underperforming retail properties, and its ability to quickly close on complicated deals, the company said.

“The opportunity to acquire this property and secure leases with Star Furniture and Timewise in only four months was a huge win for our team and one that perfectly represents our investment philosophy,” Williamsburg’s vice president of investment and development, Spencer Harkness, said in an announcement. “Generally, the market perceives an elevated level of risk associated with vacant big-box retail due to the effects of e-commerce; however, we see opportunity.”

At the same intersection, Williamsburg Enterprises is making room for another home decor and furniture retailer at its 160,000-square-foot Cypress Marketplace development. The project is 50 percent complete, with an 80,000-square-foot store being built for At Home and another 80,000 square feet being offered for lease.

katherine.feser@chron.com

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