Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Retail Vacancy, Rental Rates Rise

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Retail Vacancy, Rental Rates Rise

Article excerpt

After enjoying a year of declining vacancy rates, Tulsa shopping center owners endured a slight increase in empty storefronts through the first half of 2011.

With 78,695 square feet of negative net absorption, Tulsa's retail vacancy rate rose to 12.11 percent from 11.69 at Dec. 31, according to the midyear market update by CB Richard Ellis of Oklahoma. But it remained below year-ago marks of 12.9 percent.

Report author and CBRE retail broker Ben Ganzkow attributed this year's rising vacancies to a 4.7-percent rise among Class C and D properties in Tulsa's north-central and southeast submarkets. Other Tulsa areas charted growth, some from expanding national retailers, other elements from specialty groups.

Average rental rates reflected that positive movement, although they charted similar paths to the vacancy rates, rising to $11.59 per square foot at June 30 from $10.81 at Dec. 31, but remaining below year-ago marks of $11.92.

Ganzkow pinned much of the rental rate growth to Class A space in Tulsa's midtown, south-central and southeast submarkets, which support higher rents.

"I think we're seeing a recovery," he said in a telephone interview.

"We've got some good fundamentals happening in terms of moderate rent growth, lower unemployment. We're certainly seeing more activity. In combination, those are all positive signs of recovery."

He outlined a number of anticipated trends:

* A new wave of small organic food stores will enter Tulsa, ranging around 25,000 square feet.

"These focus on quality organic natural foods, often sourced locally," he wrote in the report. "Both Sunflower Farmers Market and Sprouts Farmers Market are considering expansion to Tulsa as well."

* Several regional and national retailers are entering the Tulsa market, from three stores by Dick's Sporting Goods to a new store by Buy Buy Baby. Life Time Fitness has started construction on a giant fitness center at the Vineyard upscale shopping complex in Bixby.

* A number of existing nationals will expand their Tulsa footholds. …

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