Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hope Grows at OKC's Crossroads Mall: Some Tenants Thriving despite Mall's Troubles

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hope Grows at OKC's Crossroads Mall: Some Tenants Thriving despite Mall's Troubles

Article excerpt

While other retailers are closing their doors at Crossroads Mall, Tom Redwine's coin and jewelry business is thriving.

He opened up Redwine's Gold Nugget Coin and Jewelry about eight months ago on the lower level of the mall across from the indoor play area. He started by renting a kiosk at the mall to sell his sterling silver jewelry and operate his coin dealership, but did so well that he expanded into a roughly 1,000-foot storefront earlier this year.

"I like it really well here," Redwine said. "The rent here is reasonable and it's worked really well for me - my business is constantly growing."

While other stores close their doors, a handful of small business, some of them nontraditional mall tenants, are not only surviving, but thriving at Crossroads.

The mall's previous owner, Midwest Mall Properties LLC, lost the property to foreclosure in 2009. All of the anchor tenants have abandoned the mall, which is about 20 percent occupied.

Still, Crossroads survives. Upbeat pop music plays in the halls. Mothers still bring their children to the indoor play area. A few mall walkers still circle the halls each day.

Several national tenants, including Bath & Body Works, Hot Topic and Victoria's Secret, still have their doors open and the mall manages to generate a positive cash flow, said Jim Parrack, senior vice president of Price Edwards & Co.

Price Edwards manages the mall for owner Maiden Lane LLC, the entity set up by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to swallow the troubled mortgage assets once held by Bear Stearns.

Jim Swenson, manager of Crossroads since 1994, said he has seen many stores pack up and move away, but the mall still has a lot of good things to offer.

"It is tough to see the occupancy go down, but I just try to always stress the positive and we do have a lot of stores open still," he said. "We're a well-kept secret."

With rental rates as low as $8 a square foot, the mall is a good place for a small business to set up shop, Swenson said.

"We offer some good rates and short-term leases, so it's a really a good incubator for someone just starting out," he said.

The Oklahoma City Table Tennis Club moved into a 5,000-square- foot space on the upper level of Crossroads Mall about eight months ago from its previous home in a vacant grocery store near NE Eighth Street and Lottie Avenue. …

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