Ex-Hog, developer team on investing

Tyler Wilson, the former Greenwood University of Arkansas quarterback turned Little Rock businessman, 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 act 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 subsidiary. Flake was previously the founder and chairman of Flake & Kelley.

At first glance, the pairing is unusual: the tiny Flake and Wilson, who broke 29 records as quarterback at the University of Arkansas and spent time with three National Football League teams before making careers in business.

Flakes Bonafides are undisputed in the real estate space, where he has worked on a variety of commercial real estate projects for 50 years, including the 40-story Simmons Bank building in downtown Little Rock.

“He shaped the downtown skyline,” said Wilson.

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

Wilson, meanwhile, has been quietly creating his own post-football résumé.

“I was under the radar,” he said.

He spent several years with commercial real estate agent Leonard Boen at Commercial Realty, where he helped develop Dollar General Stores in Tennessee and Arkansas.

“We did all of the triple net leasing and they were build-to-lease triple net leases from the ground up … they brokered and put them together,” said Wilson. A triple net lease, according to Investopedia, is a rental agreement for a property in which the tenant promises to pay all property costs, including property taxes, building insurance and maintenance, in addition to rent and utilities.

Wilson is also a senior executive at Delta Solar who deals with 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 challenging times up on the hill,” said Wilson.

Cirrus is a 50-50 partnership between Flake and Wilson. They 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 plan to invest in other financial assets besides real estate, including operating companies or whatever we see,” Flake said.

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

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

“We plan to do great things, to reach out and reach for the stars.”