Empty buildings are area’s Memorial to good economy

BY STEVE LACKMEYER Modified: January 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm •  Published: January 27, 2009
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photo - A once-bustling stretch of Memorial Road is now filled with empty spaces following the closings of Cheeseburgers in Paradise, right, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, center, and Starbucks, far left.  Photo By Steve Lackmeyer, The Oklahoman
A once-bustling stretch of Memorial Road is now filled with empty spaces following the closings of Cheeseburgers in Paradise, right, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, center, and Starbucks, far left. Photo By Steve Lackmeyer, The Oklahoman
A decade ago the dining choices along Memorial Road were simple.

There were just a handful of restaurants to choose from outside of Quail Springs Mall.

Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale stood at the corner of May and Memorial, while Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Black-Eyed Pea, Harrigan’s and Grandy’s operated on the mall’s perimeter.

Louis Almaraz, a retail specialist with Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort, estimates two dozen casual dining restaurants are operating along the two-mile stretch of Memorial Road between Pennsylvania and Meridian avenues. The count doesn’t include those that have closed in the past year.

"That’s still a lot of seats you have to fill on weekdays and weekends,” Almaraz said. "There will continue to be casualties as a result of the economy and how people are watching spending of their discretionary dollars.”

Losing opportunities
Randy Hogan is among those grimacing at the recent closings. The Carrabba’s, Cheeseburgers in Paradise and a lost Starbucks were all in his efforts to create a mixed-use development consisting of offices, hotels, restaurants and shops.

But both Hogan and Almaraz say the restaurant closings do not indicate the corridor is overbuilt.

Carrabba’s and Cheeseburgers in Paradise are both owned by OSI Restaurant Partners, which has closed the chain eateries in several markets.


restaurants
Recently Closed

→Bennigan’s

→Steak & Ale

→Carrabba’s Italian Grill

→Cheeseburgers in Paradise

→Casablanca

→Northfork Grill

→Smokey Bones

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