Sand Springs, Oklahoma has a shiny new Wal-Mart Supercenter on one side of the city, but the trade off was — — they now have a deserted, empty Wal-Mart discount store too. According to a report from KOTV 6, the city has been unable to attract a new tenant to the Wal-Mart “dark store.” So in south Sand Springs, where the empty Wal-Mart sits, city officials say the company has made opening a new business almost impossible. The KOTV report added, “A parking lot, once filled with Wal-Mart shoppers, sits vacant, just as it has since the retail giant left here several years ago. The property, which is part of a shopping center, was sold to a local developer, but with certain “non-compete” restrictions. No discount stores, wholesale stores, grocery stores or pharmacies, are allowed to move in.” The city manager in Sand Springs told the news station, “People in south Sand Springs would like to see that particular facility occupied again, and if there are some restrictions on the property at present, it may be time to relax those.” The city complains that the potential of the old Wal-Mart property is being wasted. “Amidst all this success, there is still an opportunity for more success in our community,” the manager noted. At the shopping center that Wal-Mart abandoned, the manager at Payless Shoes said a number of neighboring businesses have closed, and business is slow for everyone. “People move in and out of the shopping center all the time, because they can’t bring in the sales they need to bring in.” A spokesman for Wal-Mart told the station that the “non-compete” clause is not longer part of its requirements for businesses looking to retenant their vacated leases. Wal-Mart said it was open to discussing lifting the restrictions if that would help the current owner.
This Sand Springs store does not even appear on Wal-Mart’s current list of “available buildings.” In Oklahoma today, Wal-Mart has 9 vacant stores, for a total of 814,870 s.f. of dead stores, the equivalent of 17 football fields. At any point in time, Wal-Mart has 300 to 350 empty stores sitting empty, as much as 26 million square feet of empty space. For earlier stories on this subject, search by “dark stores.”