Ex-Hog, dev team on investments

Tyler Wilson, a former University of Arkansas quarterback from Greenwood and now a businessman in Little Rock, has teamed up with longtime real estate developer John Flake to form an investment company.

Wilson will serve as President of Cirrus Investments while Flake will serve as Partner and Advisor. Wilson will also join Flake & Company as a licensed broker.

Flake & Co. is a commercial real estate company founded by Jessica Flake Dearnley, Flake’s daughter. Flake was previously the founder and chairman of Flake & Kelley.

At first glance, the pairing is unusual: little Flake and Wilson, who set 29 records as a quarterback at the University of Arkansas and served time on three National Football League teams before pursuing a career in business.

Flake’s bonafides are undisputed in real estate, having spent 50 years working on a variety of commercial real estate projects, including the 40-story Simmons Bank building in downtown Little Rock.

“He shaped the downtown skyline,” Wilson said.

Flake said he also held interests in a number of companies, including Southwest Media, which once owned Little Rock television station KARK-TV, Channel 4 and two other television networks, and AGL, a Jacksonville company that made laser systems for the construction industry.

Wilson, meanwhile, has been quietly building his own post-football resume.

“I was under the radar,” he said.

He worked for several years under commercial real estate agent Leonard Boen at Commercial Realty, where he helped develop Dollar General Store in Tennessee and Arkansas.

“We did all of the triple-net leasing, and these were triple-net leases built from the ground up, leased from the ground up… brokering them and putting them together,” Wilson said. A triple-net lease, according to Investopedia, is a lease on a property in which the tenant promises to pay all property expenses, including property taxes, buildings insurance and maintenance, in addition to rent and utilities.

Wilson is also an executive at Delta Solar, which oversees all aspects of commercial and agricultural solar installation.

His experience with the Razorback brand is also helpful.

“There were some good times, fun times, but also some challenging times at the top of the hill,” Wilson said.

Cirrus is a 50/50 partnership between Flake and Wilson. You already have some investments in mind.

It won’t just be real estate.

“I’ve spent most of my career in real estate, but we intend to invest in financial assets other than real estate, which could include operating companies or whatever else we might see,” Flake said.

Wilson sees a supportive environment for investing in assets impacted by the Covid pandemic while interest rates remain low.

“We’re really excited about what we’re bringing to the table,” he said, “with John’s experience and my knowledge of triple net leases.

“We plan to do big things, reach for the stars and reach for them.”

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