Glimcher Realty Trust reported the $51.8 million buy of Classen Curve, The Triangle at Classen Curve and Nichols Hills Plaza on March 3. The purchase plan first was announced in Glimcher’s fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 results released in February.
The sale is the latest move in an effort by the energy company to reduce debt and shed some of its assets after last year’s departure of former CEO, founder and Oklahoma City native Aubrey McClendon.
“Through this sale, Chesapeake continues its strategy of divesting noncore assets to focus on our business of energy exploration and production,” Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler said in a statement.
And while Chesapeake is getting out of the retail business, Glimcher is glad to enter the market.
“Based on early interest, we believe there is an opportunity to create a fully integrated, mixed-use shopping and entertainment district serving the local community as well as the broader Oklahoma City market,” said Glimcher Chairman and CEO Michael P. Glimcher in a statement.
Jim Parrack, senior vice president of retail with commercial real estate firm Price Edwards & Co., said Glimcher is an ideal buyer for the properties. Price Edwards was not involved in the transaction.
“Glimcher is very well regarded in the real estate community,” he said. “They are the type of firm that can turn that whole development into something special.”
All three centers suffered from a lack of momentum after McClendon’s departure, including the loss of longtime Nichols Hills Plaza tenants Crescent Market and Nichols Hills Drug. Parrack said Glimcher has a history of jump-starting retail centers and developing them to their full potential.
With about 12 acres of vacant land between The Triangle and the Plaza, with NW 63rd Street running in between, Parrack said there is the potential for possible future construction of more shopping space, an entertainment component and possibly even a hotel or housing.
He said those types of amenities could help the area develop into a small lifestyle center.
“A lifestyle center includes a mix of tenants with an entertainment component,” he said. “You don’t just shop; you hang out and spend some time there.”
The Plaza was constructed in 1981, and Chesapeake bought it for $27.5 million in 2006. Classen Curve and The Triangle were built in 2010 by Chesapeake on land formerly occupied by a residential neighborhood.
The Triangle is home to Anthropologie and Whole Foods Market. The Curve includes Red Coyote Running and Fitness and the only OKC branch of yoga clothing and supply store lululemon athletica.
With the change of ownership, an entertainment piece might become part of a master development plan as well as more national brands, Parrack said. An entertainment component could include anything from a movie theater to an entertainment-themed restaurant.
Glimcher owns, manages, acquires and develops retail properties around the country. It owns material interests and manages 29 properties. It has not yet released plans for the Oklahoma City properties.