Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa's SpiritBank Event Center on Track for 100-Pct. Occupancy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa's SpiritBank Event Center on Track for 100-Pct. Occupancy

Article excerpt

SpiritBank has commitments in hand to completely fill the SpiritBank Event Center's internal office and retail space within six months.

That's the positive side of the Tulsa bank's 18-month effort to recover and stabilize the former Remy Cos. development and one of its least understood challenges. While many Tulsans know of the center's 4,500-seat amphitheater, most associate the projects office and retail space with the neighboring Regal Plaza shopping center. But the event center itself offers 34,000 square feet of Class A office space supported by a 400-space parking garage, as well as 21,000 square feet of retail and 10,000 square feet of banquet facilities.

Securing 100-percent occupancy - based in part on the bank's own leases - makes the property infinitely more desirable once it's put back on the sales block, which SpiritBank needs to do under today's tightened federal regulations. While it would entertain offers now, Executive Vice President of Marketing Joyce Madewell said the lender has certain details to work out before marketing the 165,000-square- foot event center at 10441 S. Regal Blvd., just off 106th Street and Memorial Drive.

The other half of that recovery and stabilization effort - building a tenant base for the neighboring 130,000-square-foot Regal Plaza - remains in development.

Occupancies in the two-story retail complex stand around 60 percent, said Madewell. While that more than doubles the amount when SpiritBank repossessed the event and shopping centers in December 2009, that 60-percent level shows little progress from when Regal welcomed Southern Nazarene University's 17,000-square-foot Tulsa campus in January.

With most shopping centers still struggling since the 2008 recession brought national retail expansion to a standstill, Madewell said SpiritBank was pleased to hit 60 percent at Regal. But that represents the lower end of occupancy targets. Madewell said the lender will pursue 80 percent while its staff markets the property.

"I think you still need to improve that vacancy," said Ben Ganzkow, Tulsa retail analyst. "An outsider seeing that kind of vacancy, they're going to want to buy it at a low price. …

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