Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New Owner Hopes to Wake Up Midwest City's Heritage Park Mall

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New Owner Hopes to Wake Up Midwest City's Heritage Park Mall

Article excerpt

Makeovers are in. The trend that began with a bit of makeup to touch up a droopy eye or enhance a cheekbone has spread. Plastic surgeons are touching up bodies, mechanics are rebuilding cars, architects are renovating houses and a local team commanded by new owner Dan Dill is revamping Heritage Park Mall in Midwest City.

Dill purchased the mall on E. Reno Avenue for $4.1 million from Simon Property Group - which owns Penn Square Mall - in December.

The sale included two buildings that were constructed in 1978 - an 183,971-square-foot regional shopping center and a department store with 27,105 square feet.

There are 53 stores and kiosks using the buildings. When full, nearly 75 businesses will occupy the space, said Sharon Banta, property manager at Heritage Park Mall.

The extreme mall makeover as Dave Burnett, director of economic development for the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce, deemed it, will enhance many aspects of the landmark.

It's kind of like a sleeper mall right now and we're going to try to wake it up, said Hans Butzer, a partner at Tap Architecture.

Asking a mall to rise and shine is more complicated than setting an alarm. In fact, Simon Property Group didn't feel the mall was a worthwhile investment.

We sell properties because they don't fit into our core portfolio, said Les Morris, spokesperson for Simon Property Group in Indianapolis. Our strategy is to own the best properties in the best markets - one that is an iconic-type property, one that's recognizable as the retail destination in the market. That's been our focus in the past few years. We're very focused on that and our portfolio has been upgraded as a result.

Dill, on the other hand, is ready for the challenge.

I felt like it was an investment opportunity, he said.

When the mall is completed - which won't be for a few years - the most significant change will be the new storefronts.

(We're) looking to turn out spaces on the south side and make them available from the outsides, Dill said. …

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