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Grocery stores hungry for space in Oklahoma City

The absorption of three big boxes in the first half of 2012 left 24 vacant locations totaling 961,023 square feet of space in the metro area, a reduction of 7.3 percent from the 1,036,175 square feet available for lease at the first of the year, according to brokers at CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma.
BY RICHARD MIZE richardmize@opubco.com Published: August 18, 2012
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“We've watched over the last few years as grocers watched for opportunity. In fact, the site selectors are still out there. They're still looking for deals and we believe the market's vacancy rates will continue to decrease,” Inman said.

Graham called the store openings “encouraging,” but noted that the supply of retail space is still strong.

“There are good opportunities for those still looking at our market,” he said.

Among spaces likely to come off the market in the second half of the year is a 33,500-square-foot former Linens ‘n Things at Belle Isle Station Shopping Center at Interstate 44 and Classen. Nordstrom Rack is an off-price division of Nordstrom Inc. An architecture firm that designs Nordstrom stores Thursday took out a permit to remodel the space, city records show.

Shopping centers

In a separate report, CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma estimated a midyear vacancy rate of 9.75 percent among shopping centers 25,000 square feet or larger, almost flat compared with a rate of 9.9 percent at the first of the year.

“The small movement doesn't necessarily represent a lack of activity or stagnation. There is simply not much more room for growth without new construction,” brokers wrote in the report.

They noted that of the seven submarkets tracked, three saw lower vacancies, three saw higher vacancies and one was unchanged. Overall, they said, Oklahoma City's retail property market remained “uniquely healthy,” with success building on success.

“The market continues to gain attention for the overall strength of the local economy and the positive reports from retailers that are expanding here. These upbeat reports help create demand by others searching for high-quality space,” CB Richard Ellis reported. “At the same time, the nation's flat economy and the resultant restricted capital for new investment constrains the opportunities for new development, especially the construction of any speculative retail space.

“The lack of new product forces those looking to expand to consider existing alternatives. The result is a tightening market with occupancy factors at record highs.”