Clothier H&M and chic discounter Five Below are two new retail concepts that are said to be considering the Tulsa area, said Kate Thorp, president of Metro Commercial LLC.
“It’s rumored we’re getting H&M in the Miss Jackson’s space, but we’ll have to wait and see,” she said.
If they were to arrive, they would join an array of new concepts that have already come to Tulsa or are in the process of arriving, including Trader Joe’s, Costco, Urban Outfitters, Main Event, Kate Spade and Texas de Brazil.
Thorp and an array of other local commercial real estate professionals spoke Thursday during the 2015 Tulsa Trends Conference held by the Tulsa chapter of NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association.
The conference, held at the Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills, helps commercial real estate professionals keep up with the latest developments in local, regional and national real estate.
In addition to the new stores, Thorp noted the three outlet mall companies currently jockeying for position in Tulsa — Simon Premium Outlets in Jenks, Cherokee Outlets by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, and one by Horizon Properties at 129th East Avenue at Interstate 44.
“The outlet mall race is indicative of how strong the Tulsa market is to retailers,” she said.
Thorp said there’s currently a lack of available spaces for retailers to rent, thanks to a relative lack of retail construction.
Nick Lombardi of Frisbie Lombardi said he’s seeing strong interest in commercial land purchases from retailers, particularly in south Tulsa along the Memorial and Mingo corridors.
“Based on what we’ve seen, there’s some fun things on the horizon,” he said.
However, Lombardi suggested things are looking less solid for the planned retail development around the Warren Theater in Broken Arrow.
“Time will tell if the market can move that far, but the city’s pushing for it like never before,” he said.
Tanda Francis, managing broker of Price Edwards & Co., said the office segment is currently uncertain in general, thanks to an occupancy rate stagnant at 81 percent and worries over interest rates and oil prices.
“As I see it now, things are hazy on the horizon,” she said.
Francis noted, however, the office market has been resilient in recent years from booms to busts, ranging from a high occupancy of 86 percent in 2000 to a low of 72 percent in 1990.
She said the office portion of the 600,000-square-foot Santa Fe project in development downtown has a letter of intent to occupy 30,000 square feet. And the Tornado Tower concept pitched by KKT Architects, formerly Kinslow Keith and Todd, continues to stir up interest.
“I’m not sure I would want to office in a glass tower shaped like a tornado, but that’s just me,” Francis said.
Bobby Pielsticker, first vice president at CBRE Inc., said there’s some positive signs for the industrial sector. Vacancies are low at 5.1 percent, and of the three new buildings under construction at CenterGate — formerly the Ford glass plant — two are already rented out, he said.
The 400,000 square feet vacated by Hilti during its headquarters move to Dallas is also under contract.
“There are some good things coming on the horizon,” he said.
But Pielsticker said the price of oil has everyone in the industry holding their breath. While energy-dependent manufacturers are working on their backlogs, things could get worse in the near future.
“The banks are going to start calling in lines of credit, and we’ll start to feel more of an impact” from low oil prices, he said.
Matt Newman, development manager at Ross Group, said their conversion of the International Harvester building in downtown Tulsa at Second Street and Frankfort Avenue is going well.
However, that building wasn’t their first choice.
“We originally purchased the Swinney Hardware building for our headquarters, but we soon realized we grew out of it,” Newman said.
Ross Group still owns the Swinney Hardware building, and still plans to renovate it, he said.
November 13, 2015