Retail Center Planned in West Tulsa

Oct. 19--The Tulsa Hills shopping center isn't finished yet, but it could get a $25 million neighbor.

A group of local investors are planning Westridge Plaza, a retail center that could amass up to 244,400 square feet of space in a single center, as well as 55,690 square feet of out parcel buildings.

John Rupe, who purchased 30 acres on the southwest corner of U.S. 75 and 81st Street within sight of Tulsa Hills, said he and his partners Cliff Nutt and Dave Yonce were encouraged by the commercial and government reaction to the nearby shopping center.

"We saw what a great job Tulsa Hills was doing and the results they were getting," he said. "Our development wouldn't be possible without them, and their development wouldn't have been possible without the city's willingness to work with developers."

Tulsa Hills, a 800,000 square-foot, $60 million development set to open next year, has already attracted tenants such as Belk, Best Buy, Target and Lowes.

John Collett, a developer of Tulsa Hills, recently told Tulsa Metro Chamber representatives

that leasing at the shopping center is now is 30 percent to 40 percent ahead of where it was expected to be.

Westridge Plaza's three partners, acting as Westridge Plaza LLC, purchased the land from a family trust for approximately $3.36 million, Tulsa land records indicate.

Rupe, who is president and CEO of Rupe Properties and Rupe Building Co. of Tulsa, said plans are still in development, and may change in the next 90 days.

"It all depends on how pre-leasing goes," he said.

Currently, plans call for a stone and stucco design, along with several fountains and extensive landscaping.

Steve Walman, owner of Walman Commercial Real Estate Services and leasing agent for Westridge, said the center will fill niches not provided by its larger neighbor.

"It's positioned well with Tulsa Hills, and obviously the goal isn't to compete with it, but to compliment it," he said.

A key priority is a grocery store, along with smaller anchor stores with personality, he said. Outparcel tenants could include restaurants, banks and a hotel.

Rupe said retail developments should soon thrive in west Tulsa.

"It won't just attract people in west Tulsa, it'll attract from communities south and north of Tulsa like Glenpool and Skiatook that don't want to deal with the traffic in other parts of the city."

Rupe Properties, which will handle development on Westridge, is currently building The Plaza in Van Buren, Ark., an 18-acre center with a movie theater, two hotels, retail and office space.

The company is also nearing completion on Country Club Crossing in Claremore, a $5 million project with a theater, a retail center and a residential subdivision on 10 acres.

Rupe Building will be the construction contractor for Westridge.

Copyright (c) 2007, Tulsa World, Okla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.