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Retail goes retro in plans for 1960s-theme center in Midwest City

Architect's drawing of Center Marketplace, which is scheduled to break ground Tuesday at SE 15 and Warren Drive in Midwest City. [IMAGE PROVIDED]
Architect's drawing of Center Marketplace, which is scheduled to break ground Tuesday at SE 15 and Warren Drive in Midwest City. [IMAGE PROVIDED]

No TG&Y of course, nor Woolworth nor Kinney Shoes, and no funky Fotomat in the parking lot, but Center Marketplace will have a groovy retro-1960s vibe and mid-century modern motif.

"Everything from the building facade and signage will reflect this theme," the developers said. "The nature of the building design will create a cool atmosphere for shoppers and tenants alike making Center Marketplace THE place to be in Midwest City."

The 14,000-square-foot main shopping center, scheduled to start with groundbreaking at 9 a.m. Tuesday, is under development on the southeast corner of SE 15 and Warren Drive by Phoenix-based Accelerated Development Services in partnership with California Gold Development Corp. in Sonora, California. It will also have a smaller retail building fronting SE 15.

It will come out of the ground amid consumer chaos and commercial upheaval during the coronavirus pandemic, which has doomed large swaths of retail with economic shutdowns and millions of people still staying at home, whether ordered to or not.

"We had enough tenants signed to commence with construction pre-virus," said Trey Eakin, executive vice president of Accelerated Development Services. "We have two new tenants that have committed since the pandemic/lockdown started. One is Great Clips and the other is a national coffee user going on our outparcel pad that will be announced soon. This will be their first site in Oklahoma, so we are excited about that."

The first tenants signed were Pearle Vision, Nashbird, The Baked Bear, and Smoothie King. Eakin said the developers are working with broker Dean Ingram, a retail specialist with Sooner Investment Real Estate, who does work in both the Oklahoma and Phoenix metro areas.

"Dean was instrumental in finding us our first signed tenants in the project," Eakin said. "We continue to have significant tenant interest and expect to have more new tenant announcements in the near future."

Eakin himself has Sooner roots and attended the University of Oklahoma.

"I did grow up in Oklahoma and graduated from OU in the mid-'80s, and that did drive me and our team to do something a little more special and out of the box to celebrate our first project in Oklahoma," Eakin said. "We hope to do many more. We are in the very preliminary stages of other projects in Oklahoma, but it's too early to make any public announcements."

The architectural firm was Phase One Design in Norman. Civil engineering work was by SMC Consulting Engineers, the construction lender was Watermark Bank, and the general contractor is Delta Construction — all in Oklahoma City.

Center Marketplace's retro looks will be a first for Accelerated Development, he said.

"We wanted to do something unique design-wise in our first Oklahoma project and will also be honoring the B-52 bomber and military heritage of Tinker (Air Force Base) and Midwest City with a mural design that will be painted onto one side of the larger 14,000-square-foot retail building," Eakin said. "We did spend extra time on the designs of both the building and signage to make the project have a more 'specialty and unique' feel to it — something that would really stand out in the community. By the way, the city of Midwest City has been great to work with."

The fun design can only help Center Marketplace's launch during the coronavirus pandemic and recession, metro-area brokers said.

"Great tenant mix and a great start for the center, with that kind of pre-leasing. Retro places are always cool and different," said Jim Rose, broker and vice president of retail for Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort.

The mid-century motif will put the property outside the usual retail box, said Jim Parrack, broker and senior vice president of retail for Price Edwards & Co.

"Retail tends to copy what works and in Oklahoma, design is often constrained by rents. The retro design of Center Marketplace is good to see and a nice change of pace," he said.

Cool looking or not, Parrack said it will have its work cut out for it.

"It's not a revelation to say that the retail market is in a period of great uncertainty and will be for an indeterminate time. Consequently, most new construction projects of any size have been put on hold," Parrack said. "However, we have seen smaller projects like this one, particularly ones that were in essence pre-leased before the pandemic, move forward to completion.

"I'm not worried about that long-term health of the retail. It's navigating through the next year or two that will be challenging."

The developers are confident.

"The new project has superior positioning at the regional intersection where the 400,000-square-foot Sooner Town Center includes multiple national retail tenants such as Warren Theatre, Hobby Lobby, Academy Sports, and Burlington, to name a few," Eakin said. "Rose State College and Tinker Air Force Base are all within the immediate trade area. Additionally, an established population and strong daytime employment make Center Marketplace an extremely desirable location for many retailers wishing to expand in the Midwest City area."

Related Photos
<strong>The font and art work of the Center Marketplace logo reflect the future shopping center's throwback 1960s motif. [IMAGE PROVIDED]</strong>

The font and art work of the Center Marketplace logo reflect the future shopping center's throwback 1960s motif. [IMAGE PROVIDED]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-534edb61af888fd146654f0c0a5ef7aa.jpg" alt="Photo - The font and art work of the Center Marketplace logo reflect the future shopping center's throwback 1960s motif. [IMAGE PROVIDED] " title=" The font and art work of the Center Marketplace logo reflect the future shopping center's throwback 1960s motif. [IMAGE PROVIDED] "><figcaption> The font and art work of the Center Marketplace logo reflect the future shopping center's throwback 1960s motif. [IMAGE PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-da3283237ad10a5e0d85793c3c0abeee.jpg" alt="Photo - Trey Eakin " title=" Trey Eakin "><figcaption> Trey Eakin </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5a288ab94d20184e5719c9dd528ec3a2.jpg" alt="Photo - Dean Ingram " title=" Dean Ingram "><figcaption> Dean Ingram </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-65e476351b1f7c3fd9b5ffc0d94a2264.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ca71ef8e922d5057a00427265c97b36a.jpg" alt="Photo - Architect's drawing of Center Marketplace, which is scheduled to break ground Tuesday at SE 15 and Warren Drive in Midwest City. [IMAGE PROVIDED] " title=" Architect's drawing of Center Marketplace, which is scheduled to break ground Tuesday at SE 15 and Warren Drive in Midwest City. [IMAGE PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Architect's drawing of Center Marketplace, which is scheduled to break ground Tuesday at SE 15 and Warren Drive in Midwest City. [IMAGE PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure>
Richard Mize

Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked... Read more ›

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