Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vacancy Rates Fall Slightly at Area Shopping Centers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vacancy Rates Fall Slightly at Area Shopping Centers

Article excerpt

Vacancy rates at metropolitan Oklahoma City shopping centers continued to fall during the first half of 1996 despite a bleak retail outlook.

A decline in space available of nearly 100,000 square feet to 2.07 million was somewhat responsible for the lower vacancy rate, according to the Spring-Summer Shopping Center Market Survey of Price Edwards & Co.

The shopping center vacancy rate dropped to 10.09 percent by the end of April from 10.45 percent a year earlier and 10.44 percent six months earlier for the 218 centers surveyed.

That represents a steady and significant improvement from the vacancy rate of 15.9 percent five years ago in 1991, noted Mary R. Grace, senior vice president-retail, Price Edwards & Co.

Retailing trends reported at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention in May included the predicted decline in building of large shopping centers. Oklahoma City, as a secondary market, probably will escape the overbuilding problem, Grace said.

"Several clouds are looming on the horizon which affect shopping centers and consumers," she said.

"Credit card debt continues to mount; industry continues to create more low-paying jobs, which results in less disposable income for the consumer; and shopping and buying habits are changing," Grace said.

"These concerns are tied to national retail market trends and retailers, especially, are feeling the crunch," she said.

In real figures, those Oklahoma City shopping center spring 1996 percentages amount to 18.44 million square feet leased, and 2.07 million square feet of shopping center space vacant and looking for someone to call it home. The 218 centers in the survey had 20.51 million square feet available.

The survey was divided into six regional trade areas.

The highest rate of vacancy rate among the six areas was 18.24 percent in the northeast region, down from 22.65 a year earlier.

The second highest vacancy rate was 13.05 percent in the northwest region, down from 14. …

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