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Oklahoma City retail is hot

National and regional site selectors keep circling, and some stores are still landing, in the hottest retail market in 10 years, according to Price Edwards & Co.
BY RICHARD MIZE richardmize@opubco.com Modified: July 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: July 24, 2013
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Ruth's Chris Steak House is still cooking, and Costco, Cabela's and Main Event are still looking.

But the most intriguing part of Price Edwards & Co.'s midyear retail property market summary report is what it doesn't mention.

“There are several more that are not prepared at this time to announce their intentions,” Price Edwards teased.

Jim Parrack, senior vice president and retail specialist, wouldn't budge when pressed.

Big box-type retailers looking for space “have sworn everybody to secrecy,” he said. They are “names that people would recognize. People will be glad if they come.”

Would-be newcomers are always looking, he said, but the numbers and intensity of site selectors reflects activity higher than it's been in 10 years.

Oklahoma City retail development is hot, in other words. Sizzling even, speaking of Ruth's Chris — although no deal has yet closed on a location for the national upscale steakhouse. When it comes off, it'll be a cut above the rest.

“It's a different level of restaurant than has been in Oklahoma City for a couple of reasons. It is a national upscale restaurant — not that we don't have great local ones,” Parrack said. “What that really means, to me, is they have to be able to do significant dollar volume for it to make sense for them to move here. And they think they can.”

The report was full of name brands that are still new to the market: Nordstrom Rack at Belle Isle Shopping Center, Hemispheres' expansion to Fritts Farm in Moore, Dick's Sporting Goods across the metro area, north, south, east and west.

LA Fitness should start construction on three or four locations soon. Mathis Brothers is adding more Sleep Studios and will soon announce locations for its Ashley Furniture Stores. Von Maur is still on track to replace Sears at Quail Springs Mall.

Space is limited

Retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods and LA Fitness are building from the ground up for lack of existing space, Price Edwards noted. But demand is pushing developers, so a few larger projects are in the works.

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