The Daily Oklahoman
July 9, 2011
Oklahoma City shoppers — and retail property owners and developers — have an economy to count on for the rest of this year and 2012: One, two, three, more. That’s according to the optimistic midyear retail property market summary from Price Edwards & Co.
• One — The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, Interstate 40 and Council Road, is set to open Aug. 5 with 40-plus stores including Nike, Saks Fifth AvenueOFF 5TH, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Coach, Chico’s, Banana Republic, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Levi’s, Carters and others.
• Two — Whole Foods Market, anchoring the Triangle at Classen Curve, is coming along on Western Avenue near NW 63 for a fall opening.
• Three — Target, at the Fritts Farm retail center southwest of SW 19 and Telephone Road in Moore, is set to open Sunday, July 24.
Price Edwards said prime locations are still wanting for more stores, national retailers in general are coming out of their recession hibernation, new retailers are still scoping out the Oklahoma City market — and the metro-area economy, with its enviable unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, keeps maintaining its speed, if not accelerating.
“Whether it’s groceries, fitness or fashion, shoppers are going to have more and varied choices than any time in the past,” said Jim Parrack, senior vice president.
Not that the coast is clear — especially when it comes to financing. Developers still find credit terms daunting, he said. Plus, the latest national unemployment figure, 9.2 percent, out Friday, was an unexpected downer that could sour consumers’ moods.
But more retail is to come, nonetheless, Parrack said.
“This is Oklahoma City’s time: Our economy is doing better than the rest of the country, we have a lot of momentum with our ongoing public and private projects, and there is limited supply of quality retail space at the same time there is increasing demand,” he said. “While financing and national uncertainty make it hard, the market is aligning for new development.”
So look for additions and expansions, rather than out-of-the-blue projects out of previously undeveloped sites, Price Edwards said, “because it’s easier to build on (and finance) success and because retailers want proven locations.” The firm pointed specifically to the Shoppes at Moore, Midwest City‘s Towne Centerand the second phase of University North Park in Norman.
Some “ground-up” projects remain on drawing boards, Price Edwards reported, still stalled by the recession. For them, recovery is still to come.
“Even in good times, recovery takes time, but … it takes even longer today and developers must have deeper pockets,” the Price Edwards report said. “Nonetheless, we would not be surprised by an announcement or two on new developments between now and the end of the year. The most likely locations: the Memorial Road corridor, east Edmond and Midwest City.”
Beyond this year and next, Parrack said, Oklahoma City stores and potential new store sites, are sitting pretty compared to the rest of the country.
“Long haul, while not sexy like some markets, Oklahoma City retail is characterized by stability and steady growth over time. We’ll have periodic setbacks and improvement won’t always be even in different sectors of the market. But, we are in the early stages of growth and with growth comes opportunity,” he said.