Oklahoma City-area malls thrive amid national reports of other malls' deaths

Penn Square, Quail Springs, Sooner Mall and Northpark Mall are alive and well, thank you very much.
by Richard Mize Published: August 9, 2014
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The report that malls are dead, to borrow Jim Parrack’s famous line, is “an exaggeration” — at least around here.

Oh, wait. Jim Parrack is a real estate guy at Price Edwards & Co.

It was Mark Twain who said a report of his own death was an exaggeration.

Or was that Paul McCartney? No, no, I’m thinking of the “Paul is dead” rumor from “Revolution 9” on The Beatles’ “White Album.”

Or was it The Beatles all lined up in the funeral procession imagery on the “Abbey Road” cover? John in holy white, Ringo in undertaker black, George in grave-digging denim, Paul barefoot and out of step, as in dead?

I digress. I so digress. Hey, malls mean firsts to me:

My first music purchases — on 45s and 8-track tapes — and first book purchases, from Waldenbooks, in the ’70s, at Phoenix Village Mall and Central Mall in Fort Smith, Ark.

First visit with Santa Claus, first bounce in a bouncy house, first ride on a Shetland pony and first bicycle, at Phoenix Village Mall in Fort Smith, Ark.

First movie “date” in fourth grade (school trip), at Central Mall, also in Fort Smith. First taste of Chik-fil-A: Sikes Senter, Wichita Falls, Texas.

First meal and meeting with soon-to-be in-laws: Penn Square Mall. First purchase of a refrigerator (and other household appliances): Quail Springs Mall.

First purchase of a fine glass collectible (OK, a Swarovski kitty cat! Longtime Christmas habit for my sweetie!): Northpark Mall. First local purchase of NASCAR collectibles: Heritage Park Mall, RIP.

Yes, Heritage Park Mall, in Midwest City, is the only dead mall around here. Of course, it still could be resurrected; having a LifeChurch branch on the premises can’t hurt. Resurrection is what’s happening to Crossroads Mall, now Plaza Mayor at Crossroads, although it’s still in progress.

But most of the metro area’s malls are in great shape: Penn Square Mall and Sooner Mall, full; Quail Springs Mall, all but full.

Even Northpark Mall, at NW 122 and May Avenue, with a significantly higher vacancy — 17.5 percent at midyear, according to Price Edwards — is in good shape to be in a neighborhood.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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