(Santa Fe South Charter School, located in the Plaza Mayor)
Whether you consider the handful of now vacant JC Penney stores, the closed two-story Macy building at Quail Springs Mall, the variety of defunct grocery stores in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, or the smattering of dark Dollar General buildings in small cities of eastern Oklahoma, each of these becomes an opportunity for a change not just for the building but for the neighboring businesses and communities.
Of course, many of these buildings continue life as retail with a single tenant moving back in -such as in Hobby Lobby taking the former Wal-Mart in Edmond- or are demised into smaller retailers. Many other former Wal-Marts across Oklahoma have new vitality with Tractor Supply, Hobby Lobby, Wall’s Bargain Center or Dollar Stores to serve customers.
Some buildings, however, experience an alternative use such as the former Borders building. Located on Northwest Expressway, it is now a medical purpose property, and the former Montgomery Ward building at the Plaza Mayor has now opened as Santa Fe South, which is a charter school.
On the other hand, not all buildings lend themselves to reconfiguration; rather, the location merits a new building offering a more vibrant use. For example, Lifetime Fitness had been looking in Oklahoma City for some time for a site that suited their needs and their large footprint. The closing of Macy's at Quail Springs afforded them the opportunity to get into an infill position in an upscale area of North OKC/Edmond to serve their clientele. Lifetime’s new building will also add another dimension of service and excitement to the busy Memorial Corridor that will bring more traffic and shoppers to this area.