Let's add hunger pangs and guilt complexes to the psychographics behind retail development.
Why? Because grocery stores and fitness centers are making splashes in Oklahoma City, Price Edwards & Co. notes in a new report.
Gold's Gym is back in a big way, with three big centers and several smaller ones, and both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness are on the prowl for locations, Price Edwards said in its midyear retail market summary, which is available at www.priceedwards.com.
Grocers are looking again, too, after a decade or so rest following the Great Grocery Store Wars of the '90s, sparked, and sustained, mostly by Walmart Supercenters.
“Everybody knows about the Whole Foods under construction at Classen Curve,” Price Edwards said. “Sunflower has signed a lease at (NW 63) and May and is seeking other locations. Sprouts continues to search for locations. Aldi plans to add several stores. Buy for Less is doing a fresh market concept in Edmond. Crest is planning more of its market stores after the success of the South May location.”
Retail investment sales are on a slow upswing. In the first half of the year there were five shopping center sales totaling almost $55 million, compared with just four sales in all of 2010 totaling $7.8 million, and none in 2009.
“As is common when markets begin to recover, the sales are at the top of the market and the bottom of the market — institutional investors looking for stable, safe investments and entrepreneurial local investors seeking to reposition assets and generate higher returns,” Price Edwards said.
At the top end, Chicago-based Inland paid a premium for Silver Springs Pointe in northwest Oklahoma City, $16 million, or $177.16 per square foot; and University North Park in Norman, $32.5 million, or $181.67 per square foot. At the low end was the sale of Heritage Park Mall in Midwest City for $1.3 million, or $6.10 per square foot.
Needed: More improvement in capital markets and the economy in general, and some let up in economic uncertainty.
Don't get in any hurry on that last one, thanks to the pall cast Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. National unemployment ticked up to 9.2 percent on an unexpectedly low 18,000 net new payroll jobs created in June, well below the consensus forecast of 125,000. (On the Oklahoma hand, unemployment in Oklahoma City is a comparatively gasp-free 5.3 percent).
“Equity is in the market, we are seeing more offers on deals, and more inquiries,” Price Edwards said. “The investment sales market isn't back, but recovery is under way.”
Onward and upward. One and a half steps forward, one step back.