Retail property vacancy rate dips in metro Tulsa
Retail property vacancy fell slightly in metro Tulsa last year, largely because few new spaces were built.
According to a study by CB Richard Ellis/Oklahoma, 13.3 percent of multi-tenant retail space is now vacant, down from 13.8 percent at the end of June and 13.6 percent a year ago.
Ben Ganzkow, author of the report, said the new number suggests stability, as it falls between the peaks and valleys recorded during the recession and its aftermath.
"With a very limited supply of new construction, we've seen positive absorption picking up," Ganzkow said.
Construction began on only two major retail projects last year - Tuscana on Yale, a 32,000-square-foot center near 91st Street and Yale Avenue, and Shoppes On Peoria, a 23,000-square-foot neighborhood center near Pine Street and Peoria Avenue.
Ganzkow said that though the economy is improving - evidenced by a holiday shopping season that saw national sales rise about 9.2 percent from a year ago - few developers are making moves.
"It's a wait-and-see situation right now," he said. "We're in a low-interest-rate environment and demand is picking up, but developers still have to work through pre-leasing a project to get financing since underwriting has gotten so difficult."
- ROBERT EVATT, World Staff Writer
American Airlines' new logo flies into Tulsa
Times are changing at American Airlines.
If the past 14 months of American's bankruptcy restructuring haven't made it apparent, the fading away of its signature silver aluminum birds are proof a new company is being born, company officials said.
American workers and executives at the company's Tulsa Maintenance & Engineering Center on Tuesday got a sneak peek at the company's new aircraft livery and paint scheme when the company's latest addition to its fleet, a Boeing 737-800, flew into Tulsa International Airport and taxied to American's Hangar 2.
"Today is a very exciting day as we introduce this aircraft in Tulsa," said Bill Collins, American's vice president of base maintenance. "The planes used to be silver. But with the new planes that are made of composites, the unpainted color would range from dark brown to black. The silver mica tint really makes it blast. In sunlight, it's brilliant. It conveys, first and foremost, the new American."
The new livery on the 196th 737 in American's fleet is appropriate because for the first time in 20-plus years American has fewer of its workhorse MD-80s - 191 of them - than the 737s.
The new aircraft's lighter weight and updated engines are 35 percent more fuel efficient than the 1980s-vintage MD-80s, company officials said.
- D.R. STEWART, World Staff Writer
WPX hits major natural gas well in Colorado
Exploratory drilling in western Colorado by Tulsa-based WPX has hit a natural gas reservoir that could significantly increase the reserves and production for years to come, the company reported Tuesday.
WPX Energy's discovery well in the Niobrara Shale portion of the Piceance Basin has yielded an average rate of 12 million cubic feet in natural gas per day over the past month, the company said in a statement. The well was choked back after producing an initial high of 16 million cubic feet per day at a flowing pressure of 7,300 pounds per square inch.
"We know the Piceance is a world-class asset," WPX Energy Inc. CEO Ralph Hill said in the statement. "Now the results of our Niobrara well are showing that our acreage has even greater reserves potential."
Based on early indications from the Niobrara well, WPX may be able to more than double its combined 3P reserves - proved, probable and possible - of currently 18 trillion cubic feet equivalent, Hill said.
- ROD WALTON, World Staff Writer
Ameristar Fence to expand facility, hire more workers
Fences are just the beginning for Ameristar Fence Products, and a new acquisition and Tulsa expansion assures the company's footprint will continue to grow.
Ameristar is poised to build a 110,000-square-foot facility at its Tulsa headquarters to manufacture parking booths and other small structures as it widens its line of products.
An Ameristar official said the company expects to hire 40 to 50 people in the next year stemming from its purchase of Parking Booth Co. Inc., a small manufacturing firm in Sun Valley, Calif.
Ameristar plans to keep the 22-worker manufacturing facility in California but emulate Parking Booth's business in Tulsa and expand its presence to the Midwest and East Coast, said Barry Willingham, vice president for Ameristar's security division.
"We have so much steel and welding capabilities in Tulsa, so we're going to build up that operation in California and replicate what they're doing here," Willingham said.
Ameristar makes ornamental fencing at its 620-employee headquarters. It has moved into related industries during recent years, buying a vehicle-barrier company in 2011 and also getting into automated gate systems.
- KYLE ARNOLD, World Staff Writer
Groups praise bankers' clarity on headscarf policy
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Thursday expressed appreciation to the Oklahoma Bankers Association for clarifying a security policy commonly referred to "no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses" used by many of the state's banks.
The two groups along with the Oklahoma Conference of Churches recently requested a meeting with the OBA after a Muslim woman was initially denied access to a branch of Valley National Bank in Tulsa and asked to remove her religious head scarf, or hijab, before entering on Oct. 9. The bank cited the "no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses" policy to justify its actions.
"Our goal in meeting with the OBA was to use this unfortunate incident as a teaching moment about the different types of head coverings worn by Muslim women and by individuals of other faiths," CAIR-OK executive director Adam Soltani said.
Said OBA president and CEO Roger Beverage: "There was an effort on the part of the association to clearly understand what had happened and why that was such a big issue. ... Once we understood that, it was easy to go the next step, which is to make reasonable choices when you're in those kinds of situations."
- LAURIE WINSLOW, World Staff Writer