OKC VeloCity | West OKC growth fuels Westgate Park development

West OKC growth fuels Westgate Park development

By Molly Fleming / Development / October 9, 2019

The rendering shows the Westgate One building in the bottom, left corner. The two buildings marked as Westgate Park's Phase 1 are already under construction and are being leased by Eric Fleske.

Oklahoma City-based developer Richard Tanenbaum is working with Fleske Holding Co. broker Eric Fleske to bring more office space, retailers and other services to the metro’s west side.

“That part of the city is one of the fastest growing,” Fleske said. “Between the housing, industry, and schools – Dick and I think the timing’s right to go ahead and start building out the Westgate Park development. He and I are both comfortable getting this project started and speculating some buildings.”

The first two buildings are under construction now and each measure 10,500-square feet, with 10 buildings total expected to be added to the campus, as well a 324-unit apartment community.

Tanenbaum said the time is right to expand on the 190 acres he owns around the Westgate One building at Sara Road and Reno Avenue. With the turnpike expansion coming and the metro’s westward expansion, he said he thinks if he builds a high-quality space, then the users will want to be part of Westgate Park, with the first phase opening in June 2020. The apartments will open in 2021.

The Westgate One building, home to NTT Data, is now part of Westgate Park, being constructed at Reno Avenue and Sara Road.

Tanenbaum, CEO of Gardner Tanenbaum Holdings, has been working on the development for nearly 20 years. In 2001, Tanenbaum bought the metal skeleton of what would have been the Corning fiber optic manufacturing building. The steel structure sat all by itself, off Sara Road and Reno Avenue. The building was completed and he added a fifth floor, making room for NTT Data to open in the space in 2017.

The area has since filled in, with industrial-type businesses opening all around the block. Many businesses now line the road, making it easy to see there’s a lack of fast food restaurants or other retail services.

“This area is underserved as it pertains to small retail and services,” Fleske said.

But the lack of retail and services certainly hasn’t slowed down the growth in west Oklahoma City or Canadian County.

From 2002 to 2018, Canadian County had a 31% increase in its property tax collections, according to the county assessor. The 73127 zip code, where Westgate One is located, had nearly a 67% increase in new for-sale homes from 2016 to 2017, according to data from MLS-OK, the statistics and listing service from the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.  In 2018, the average time for a home on the market was 36 days, when the metro average was 53 days, according to MLS-OK.

The school districts also reflect the growth, Fleske said. The Mustang School District has to build a new elementary school every two years, he said. The district is the 13th largest in the state, though the city itself is only 12 square miles. Yukon’s new high school is less than 10 years old and the extra rooms that were originally empty have already been filled.

As the old real estate saying goes, retail follows rooftops, so the retail is what Tanenbaum and Fleske are bringing to the area. Besides the new buildings being constructed by Tanenbaum, there are also pad sites for banks and stand-alone restaurants.

Tanenbaum said he sees the need for more services just by looking around his site. Within a five-mile radius, there are 52,000 residents, with an average median income of $75,000. There are 4,000 people nearby during the daytime with employers like Niagara Bottling, Lopez Foods, Schlumberger and Armacell in the area.

The population growth will continue when Sara Road gets expanded as it connects to Highway 152. South Sara Road runs next to Walmart Supercenter and Lowe’s in Mustang. Fleske said more housing additions will likely come after that work is complete.

That’s why the retail and restaurants that are being looked at for the site will be available to the public as well, turning the single building into a campus. Having the restaurants and other amenities will help attract more employers to the NTT Data building, as well as be an asset to the community, Fleske said.

The first two floors in the Westgate One are still available, though Fleske said he’s had interest from tenants needing 20,000 square feet and 40,000 square feet.

But this development isn’t just about the big office user, he said. There’s a need for smaller, high-class offices in the area, since most spaces are highly-specialized offices or large, industrial buildings.

“We want to be able to provide other options and different entry levels of office,” he said.

Tanenbaum said he’s excited about the retailers that Fleske will bring to the property. Since Fleske started his business in Norman with local shop owners, Tanenbaum said he understands the metro. Fleske said he already has a list of potential tenants he’ll be calling.

Westgate Park will be a place where people can live, work and play, Tanenbaum said, like developments he’s seen in the Dallas metro, but he can offer a lower price-per-square foot in an up-and-coming area. A walking trail, accented with large art pieces, will be built around the water feature with one new office building featuring a large, glass back window, where people can enjoy the view.

“The west side of Oklahoma City is ready to support a quality destination where not only do employers find it an attractive place to bring their workforce, but retailers and restaurateurs also thrive,” he said. “That’s what Westgate Park will be.”

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