“To have an expansion only 15 months of building one (shopping center) is truly a rare situation,” said Gina Slechta, a spokeswoman for Horizon Group Properties, which owns the mall with CBL & Associates Properties Inc.
The company has started marketing its second addition, or phase three, and has seen interest from retailers, she said. The size and timeline for the project haven't been announced, but a 2013 opening is a possibility.
Space is limited at the outlet mall, located at I-40 and Council Road, so it's likely the next addition would also be the last. However, there are several out-parcels available for stand-alone retailers. Mathis Brothers opened its Sleep Studio there last month and a BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse is planning a summer opening.
In addition to those major predictions, several smaller retail projects could lend excitement in the New Year.
While not officially announced, Nordstrom Rack in August requested a building permit from the city, showing interest in the former Linens 'n' Things at Belle Isle Station. Nordstrom Rack is the off-price division of Nordstrom Inc. and is not currently in the Oklahoma market.
Penn Square Mall will wrap up a remodel of its entrances, restrooms and food court next spring, including new restaurants. Panda Express has filed a building permit for space in the mall and Sara Sara Cupcakes, which already is open in a temporary location, will join the lineup.
In the grocery market, Trader Joe's has been scouting Oklahoma City for its first location, though the California-based specialty grocery store hasn't made any announcements.
Other grocers looking at the metro area include Tulsa-based Reasor's and The Fresh Market, which opened a Tulsa store this fall.
Williams said the chamber has received inquiries from retailers that have never before looked into Oklahoma City and he's optimistic about the year ahead.
“What retailers care about is disposable income and how residents spend that income. When you analyze our market, we have growth in disposable income,” he said. “They get market recognition from the Thunder, but they need people coming in and buying.”
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Metro area retail projects in 2013
The following new retail projects have been announced and are expected to open next year: