BIXBY — Large swaths of the retail center Regal Plaza had never been leased by the time MOAB Development LLC bought it in December 2014 for $8.25 million, said Eric Waller of the development company.
“A lot of it was just raw studs and wires,” he said.
But the years of vacancy might be over. One year later, the retail center at 106th Street and Memorial Drive, now named PostRock Plaza, is just shy of 90 percent occupied, and Waller said the rest could follow over the next six months.
The new tenants are mostly, although not exclusively, office clients, including OC Tanner, Ironwood Homes, the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines, Nature Conservancy, Fairway Mortgage and Great Clips.
In fact, the biggest new tenant, Regus, plans to use its 9,000 square feet to provide office suites for new businesses looking to establish themselves.
Waller said the office-centric strategy has worked in part due to a lack of space in the area. While retail has flourished along Memorial Drive between 101st and 111th streets, there’s been relatively little office development.
Other tenants include Savastano’s pizzeria, Genghis Grill, Wilbanks Chiropractic and Bella Vita Day Spa.
Bob Parker of NAI Petrous, the leasing agent for PostRock, said the center has benefited from continued retail growth.
“I think this center was ahead of its time when it was built,” he said. “Back then, they didn’t have a Target or Costco to pull in traffic.”
As part of the effort to change the center’s image, MOAB put in $600,000 in improvements to the center, including a new sign, improved landscaping, LED lighting, expanded landscaping and additional branding touches, such as painting the PostRock symbol on the side of some buildings.
In addition to the large, lingering vacancies, Waller said the former Regal Plaza was also suffering from deferred maintenance.
“When we started replacing lights, we had to replace 295 bulbs,” he said.
MOAB also converted 2,250 square feet into its own office space, partially to show potential tenants what could be done within the center.
Parker said the effects have been dramatic.
“The people who come here are shocked,” he said. “All of a sudden, it’s a nice center. Once you get them here, it’s an easy sell.”
MOAB, which is based in Tulsa and Westlake, Texas, specializes in purchasing and repurposing struggling properties in various parts of the country.
Regal Plaza was built alongside the SpiritBank Event Center in 2008 by the Remy Cos. The center is now owned by SpiritBank.
Joyce Madewell, a spokeswoman for SpiritBank, said in an email the company is continuing to seek a buyer for the event center. Although the event center remains dark, the office portions are mostly leased.