The new year is likely to bring new retail to the Oklahoma City market.
Shoppers clamor for new shops and have shown support with their wallets at many of the big additions in recent years — Whole Foods Market and The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, both of which opened in 2011. Dick's Sporting Goods made a major impression when it opened four stores simultaneously this fall, two in Oklahoma City and one each in Moore and Midwest City.
But 2013 could be the year for new names — like Trader Joe's, LA Fitness, HomeGoods and Von Maur — as well as new shopping centers, since Oklahoma City's retail space is nearly 95 percent occupied, said Jim Parrack, senior vice president of retail at Price Edwards & Co. commercial real estate firm.
He predicts we'll see additions to University North Park in Norman and Fritts Farm in Moore, as well as a new ground-up development somewhere along Memorial Road.
Sears' departure from Quail Springs Mall presents a huge opportunity to secure a new department store like Von Maur, an Iowa-based upscale department store that has shown interest in our market.
“If they're able to cut a deal with Von Maur, I think it would be very good for the mall. They're not here, and I consider (Von Maur) a step above Dillard's and a huge step above Sears. It would strengthen the mall,” Parrack said.
General Growth Properties, which owns Quail Springs Mall, intends to continue to upgrade the property with upscale retail so it can better compete with Penn Square Mall, said Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. The company also owns several sites surrounding the mall and is looking to add freestanding retail that compliments the mall.
The Sears store is expected to close in late January. Earlier this year, General Growth Properties announced it was buying 11 Sears stores nationwide for $270 million.
Mall officials this week declined to comment on potential developments at the north Oklahoma City mall.
Owners of Crossroads Mall, a sore spot in the Oklahoma City retail market, are expected to make a big announcement in 2013 about the direction of the property at Interstates 35 and 240, both Parrack and Williams said.
In September 2011, Raptor Properties LLC, which consists of two local investors, purchased Crossroads Mall, which still contains about two dozen retailers, including Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and Journeys.
They intend to keep it open as a mall, despite the departure of surrounding retailers like Best Buy, which relocated to the I-240 Penn Park shopping center at I-240 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Williams said Crossroads Mall's owners want to redevelop the property with an emphasis on family entertainment.
The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City followed up a successful first year with the opening of its first addition, a 27,800-square-foot section on the mall's southwest end.
“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.”
Metro area retail projects in 2013
The following new retail projects have been announced and are expected to open next year: