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The Journal Record (Oklahoma City, OK)


OKLAHOMA CITY - Last year started with the announcement that the Macy's at Quail Springs Mall would be closing. The space was empty by the spring.

In October, mall owner General Growth Properties purchased the Macy's space and four other empty Macy's spots in other malls. During the company's November earnings call, a new tenant was announced.

Minnesota-based Life Time Fitness is seeking a building permit with the city of Oklahoma City to construct a two-story, 181,840-square-foot center near the mall. It would be constructed on vacant land at Quail Springs. GGP Senior Vice President of Investor and Public Relations Kevin Berry said he couldn't give any other details about the project, but did confirm that Life Time Fitness is coming to the center.

Life Time Fitness centers often include large child care centers, swimming pools, and food courts.

GGP has had success refilling its vacant spaces, according to its earnings presentation. Since 2011, 91 of 95 vacant department stores or boxes have been redeveloped, costing $1.5 billion, but generating an 11-percent return.

Between 2010 and 2015, the malls' sales per square foot increased 36 percent.

Three fitness companies that are in other GGP centers are 24 Hour Fitness, City Sports, and Family Fitness.

Life Time Fitness Public Relations Director Natalie Bushaw said via email that the Quail Springs Mall center will be a destination not seen in the area before, but she could not give any other information.

Price Edwards & Co. retail broker Jim Parrack said nationwide, having fitness centers as retail center anchors has yet to be proven or unproven as a replacement tenant. The Promenade Mall in Tulsa, where a Macy's store will close in the coming months, has a fitness center as an anchor.

"It's no surprise that malls have had a harder time backfilling anchor spaces when they go vacant, so they'll tend to look at something nontraditional when they go vacant like this," he said. "It remains to be seen if it will be a net addition to the mall or not. "

But the line between traditional and nontraditional mall tenants is thinning, with some GGP centers also having Sprouts Farmers Market and Wegmans as occupants.

"Tenants - whether they're restaurants or entertainment - want to be in the best retail locations," Berry said. "They are not focused on if it's traditional or not to be in a mall. They just want to be in the best retail locations. "

Parrack said Life Time's center will be a different type of fitness center than we already have in the city.

"From Life Time's point of view, (Quail Springs) makes a lot of sense," he said. "It's a good location. It's right in the middle of their market. It's a huge growth area. "

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January 12, 2017


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