Route 66 News

Crystal City Shopping Center says it’s starting improvements

The historic but long-moribund Crystal City Shopping Center along Route 66 in southwest Tulsa soon will begin major upgrades, according to KTUL-TV in Tulsa and the shopping center’s Facebook page.

One post by the shopping center’s Facebook page administrator said:

Renovations have begun! The center will soon look like these renderings. New roof and store fronts are first.

The page also posted these artist’s renderings of the upgraded Crystal City Shopping Center:

At least one of the drawings has what appears to be a roller coaster in the background. The Facebook page’s administrator said this is decorative — it’s an homage to Crystal City’s past as a former home of the Zingo roller coaster and an amusement park.

The operators also are listening to suggestions on what types of stores desired in the shopping center.

Crystal City’s Facebook page has posted a bunch of old photographs as well in recent months.

Crystal City sold at auction in February for $435,000 — less than half what the old owners anticipated. Ironically, the previous owners negotiated with a buyer offering far more money for the property.

The earlier owners’ arguably indifferent management drove down Crystal City’s price. About 15 years ago, Crystal City had 85 percent occupancy. It had dropped to is well under 50 percent at the time of its sale. At one point a few years ago, I heard from a trustworthy source the City of Tulsa was poised to seize the shopping center as a public nuisance.

A few weeks after the purchase last year, the new owner was revealed to be Florida-based Monticello Acquisitions. Bill Smith, linked to previous attempts to buy the property, is a principal with Monticello.

Crystal City also will be the site of a Route 66 gateway constructed by the City of Tulsa as part of Route 66 improvements funded by the Vision 2025 sales tax.

UPDATE 2/13/2014: Crystal City’s management announced it has landed a Sav-A-Lot grocery. It would be the first grocery there in at least a decade.


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