Eastgate Expecting Busy Summer

After months of outwardly unrecognizable change to the infrastructure of the 900,000-SF shopping mall turned mixed-use development, the management of the Eastgate Metroplex is expecting a very busy summer.
“We have six or seven big, national deals that are about to close,” Gerry Chauvin, development manager for the property said with noticeable optimism. Chauvin could not disclose the specific names of the potential tenants due to confidentiality agreements.
“We are also in active discussion with a couple of large, open floor plan office users similar to Coca-Cola Enterprises, including two or three different educational facilities that we are hoping to announce in the coming weeks.”
Coca-Cola Enterprises, the Eastgate Metroplex’s largest tenant, opened a $16 million, 60,000-SF call center in the facility last fall and has filled about 70 percent of 330 seats. The company is soon expected to announce a shift expansion, which could bring as many as 150 additional employees to the facility.
Chauvin said he also expects an announcement soon that could spur the services sector within the facility, which has seen only the opening of Kaffé Bona, a Tulsa-based purveyor of “coffee and fine foods.”
“We expect something soon from a state agency that would bring 80,000 people per year in the front doors of the Eastgate Metroplex,” he said. “It would serve as a catalyst for the type of specialty retail that we want to attract.”
Chauvin said he has learned from projects in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Fort Pierce, Fla.; Evansville, Ind.; Baton Rouge, La., and Augusta, Ga. that the food service sector present in the facility needs to grow with the demand.
“One of the biggest mistakes I made on the other centers was putting in more food than could be supported,” he said. “They cannibalized each other and failed. Here, we are doing the opposite, we are letting the food vendors grow before we bring in others.”
He said the next restaurants expected to open in the center will be high-end Mexican and a “a local, country-style home-cooking approach that wants to move into the old Garfield’s space.”
Chauvin said that non-profits are also finding the location attractive, due to its extensive customization potential and large open floor plans.
“We are in constant discussion with a couple of groups for corporate relocations,” he said. “Non-profits that want a signature building in the center. One that we could carve out and make their headquarters.”
Chauvin, who expects Eastgate to announce tenants for as much as 150,000-SF in the next 30 days, said that the majority of those showing an interest in the facility are coming from outside Tulsa.
“On a project like this, its much easier to deal with people from out of the area,” he said. “When you deal local, there remains a stigma.”
“Our current tenants (including Coke and Tulsa County Head Start), are our cheerleaders,” he said. “Coke is something that we are very proud of. Not only did it bring jobs, it brought them from outside the area.
“It is not something that we relocated from downtown. It is pure economic development.”

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