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Oklahoma City retail market is gulping big boxes

Brokers with CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma tracked deals involving retail spaces at least 18,000 square feet, which they consider the smallest space usable by a “junior anchor” in a shopping center. The surplus is gone, and big-box space is getting tight.
by Richard Mize Modified: August 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: August 17, 2013

Oklahoma City's big-box retail space surplus has slipped away the past few years as the local economy hums and national and regional chains keep grabbing space.

That's according to a midyear report by brokers Mark Inman and Stuart Graham of CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma, who tracked deals “across the full spectrum of property types.” They follow transactions involving retail spaces of at least 18,000 square feet, which they consider the smallest space usable by a “junior anchor” in a shopping center.

“After so much worry several years ago about an oversupply of empty box space, we are now struggling with a lack of inventory. There are tenants circling the market that simply can't find space,” said Inman, senior vice president of the firm.

And so developers are developing.

“For the most part, the construction is occurring as expansion of existing projects, but there are new boxes under construction or being contemplated in most every submarket,” Inman said.

He pointed to the new 138,445-square-foot Sam's Club under construction on the west side of Interstate 35, north of 15th Street, in Edmond, set to open Oct. 3, and others, including LA Fitness locations in Edmond, Moore and west Oklahoma City; Crest, Home Goods, DSW, Michael's and Walmart Neighborhood Market in Norman; and Petco in north Oklahoma City.

Inman and Graham found 629,366 square feet of big-box retail space vacant at midyear, a 2.8 percent drop from the end of 2012.

The tightening supply is presenting challenges for site selector and brokers, Graham said.

“While there are exceptions, most big-box users will be looking in our market for no more than five or six units. When you look at the most desired trade areas — Quail Springs Mall area, Moore-Norman, west Oklahoma City or Midwest City — there are simply no options. Retailers are forced to consider new construction or simply pass on the market,” said Graham, a CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma vice president.

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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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