WARR ACRES — Developer Jim Tapp has bought nearly vacant West Park Mall with plans to redevelop it and revive retail at the busy corner of NW 63 and MacArthur Boulevard.
Tapp said he hopes to attract a neighborhood grocery store.
Talk of a Walmart Neighborhood Market surrounding the deal is premature. Tapp said he is focusing on working with the property's two tenants, which include a Family Dollar Store he wants to relocate.
Tapp's Warr Acres Holdings LLC paid $2 million for the rundown property, a 124,955-square-foot community shopping center on 11.2 acres built in 1974 on the northwest corner of NW 63 and MacArthur.
Tapp negotiated the transaction with Mark Inman, retail broker with CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma, representing Saul Centers, a real estate investment trust related to B.F. Saul Co. in Bethesda, Md.
“This will be big for the city of Warr Acres. The property has sat (almost) vacant with little hope for years,” Inman said.
Any improvement to the property, whether renovating the structure or razing it and building new, would be well received in Warr Acres “no matter what goes in,” City Attorney Matthew Love said.
But new retail would make the biggest impact because of increased sales tax receipts, he said.
“For Oklahoma municipalities, their lifeblood is sales taxes,” Love said, with any increases soon felt by police and fire departments and other city services.
Redevelopment of the property will change the dynamic of retail business in Warr Acres and the rest of the northwest Oklahoma City submarket, said Jim Parrack, senior vice president and retail property specialist with Price Edwards & Co.
Retail vacancy in the approximately 100-square-mile area increased from 16 to 18.4 percent since the first of the year, according to a Price Edwards report.
The firm brackets the submarket by Lake Hefner Parkway east, Morgan Road west, NW 178 north and State Highway 66 south.
If West Park Mall were redeveloped into a single owner-occupied property, such as a supermarket, it would drop the vacancy rate by erasing 124,955 square feet of leased space from the property rolls, Parrack said.
The area could use the boost, judging from commentary in Price Edwards' just-released midyear retail market summary.
“Most of the retail is established neighborhood shopping centers with little new product. For many retailers, this market is their second or third choice,” the Price Edwards report said.