The new owner of the long-moribund Crystal City Shopping Center in southwest Tulsa is the same one who tried to negotiate a deal for months, but wound up buying it for much less money at an auction.
A new story by the Urban Tulsa alternative newspaper gave the details about the Route 66 property’s new overseer:
While a Route 66 sign emblazons the side of one building, elsewhere there is a large “For Lease” banner. At the approximately 111,000-square-foot property, located near Southwest Boulevard and S. 33rd West Avenue, most store windows are now empty.
That could change with new ownership, however. Florida-based Monticello Acquisitions, LLC, purchased the property in a late February auction for “a little bit less than $500,000,” said Dean Lewis, a senior associate with real estate brokerage firm NAI Petrous, though he added that the deal was not expected to be finalized until late March.
Bill Smith was publicly linked to an attempt to buy the property in 2012. Lewis said Smith in the principal of Monticello Acquisitions.
A business partner of Smith’s, Brenda Morrow, said in a phone interview that plans call for bringing businesses back to the retail center.
Coincidentally, I spoke with Danny Overton at NAI Global about the same time Urban Tulsa’s story went to print. He said Smith was prepared to buy the property after months of talks, until the family of owner Buck Myers decided to put it up for auction instead. Myers’ heirs had hoped to get nearly $1 million for Crystal City Shopping Center at auction; they ended up with less than half that. And Smith wound up paying millions of dollars less than anticipated.
Overton said he hoped to lure a grocery chain, Sav-A-Lot, in the shopping center. Overton also said he wants to land “destination locations” there.
By all accounts, Crystal City Shopping Center declined steadily under Myers’ ownership. According to the article, Crystal City had 85 percent occupancy when Myers bought the property 15 years ago. It now is well under 50 percent, with many boarded-up windows in vacant storefronts.
The ownership change should occur about the time the Crystal City Carnival begins next week.