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Grocery store not in downtown's near future



Downtown is not likely to see a full-size grocery store any time soon, but city government officials are doing what they can to show developers and grocery store owners that Oklahoma City is a city of opportunity.

Tax breaks and credits from the city could help entice developers as well, but in the end, some downtown residents feel a big grocery store could ruin the feel and look of their trendy neighborhoods.

"We are aggressively pursuing (developing a grocery store) downtown," said Russell Claus, manager of the Urban Redevelopment Division in the city government. "We're talking to a wide range of potential candidates. Some people are calling us, and some we're calling."

Even with all the tax breaks, empty space and high-traffic area, however, the problem of population remains, said Kim Searls, marketing director for Downtown OKC.

As projected by Wisconsin-based consulting firm The Kilduff Co. in its May 2006 study, Oklahoma City has about 528,000 residents " not enough downtown to warrant a grocery store.

"Grocery stores are not out to help a neighborhood; they are out to make money," Searls said. "Downtown OKC will have to get more populated for it to be worth it for the grocery stores." "Lisa Spinelli


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