OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Crossroads Mall told KFOR in October their plan was to reopen before Christmas, but now halfway through February and they’re unable to lock in a date.
Crossroads Mall shut down Halloween of 2017.
Four years after its closure, new owners stepped in and purchased the mall for just over $6 million.
The Crossroads Mall Convention Center CEO, Carri Lawrence said there’s a multitude of steps that go into reopening a once dead mall.
“This is a very large piece of property that had sat closed for many years and we hired professionals. We used their expertise, people who had licenses, people who were individuals that serviced the commercial communities. We had these individuals that we’re using as someone that we can value their professional expertise, giving us information, and then when their dates would come, when they were supposed to have things done, it wouldn’t happen,” added Lawrence.
She said they were deceived by hired contractors on when projects were intended to finish which in turn delayed materials.
“Glass had to be reordered because they got broken while they were being installed. They’re on a six week back order,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence added because of unforeseeable circumstances, it has set them back.
“It really hasn’t been any type of maliciousness. It hasn’t been anything that anybody was trying to delay. It was never a financial situation with the owners of the mall. It really has just been kind of one thing after another,” said Lawrence.
However, the Owner of Rajin Cajun, Latrice McMillian and the Owner of Birrieria El Guero, Clarabel Garcia would both disagree with that statement.
McMillian and Garcia were set to open a new location at Crossroads Mall, but have since pulled out.
McMillan said she first learned about the opportunity with Crossroads in July 2022.
Shortly after, she walked through the mall on a tenant tour where she noticed the inside of the mall had trash and broken glass all throughout.
As everyone split into groups, McMillian said she had to use a flashlight to look through the available suites which she thought was “fishy.”
Another red flag was that she claims she was being offered less than a dollar per square foot of leasing space.
“Which made no sense to me, but, you know, it was believable that the rent was going to be cheap for the first year because of the pandemic,” said McMillian.
McMillian said she then paid a deposit of roughly $2,700.
Her excitement for a new opportunity quickly changed after she said she never saw progress on the inside of the mall.
She said she then checked with the appropriate agencies to see if permits had been obtained yet.
McMillian claims they weren’t at the time she inquired about it.
The first year of electricity was also offered at no charge, according to McMillian.
“I knew that it was a scam because you’re not going to get free electric with OG&E and they’re not going for it,” stated McMillian.
She said mall management would only turn the power on after OG&E would leave the office for the day.
“A lot of red flags,” said McMillian.
One of the concerns pushing her over the edge was McMillian claims she was told the mall would have a flea market vibe to it.
“I feel like I’m on a different level than a flea market right now. I’m in downtown Bricktown and the flea market vibe is not what I want to do,” she said.
Garcia said she was also told the mall would look more like a flea market once open.
What rose red flags for Garcia was when she got her contract.
She said it wasn’t a complete contract, that bits and pieces were missing.
If she signed a lease, Garcia said she was looking at paying about $30,000 in rent for a year which she doesn’t consider “chump change,” so she was on the fence.
“One of the reasons why I backed out was just I didn’t think it was professional,” explained Garcia.
However, Garcia paid a $2,200 deposit.
As time went on, she requested a refund and officially pulled out on December 16 as she claims too many things were going wrong.
Garcia said she didn’t receive her refund until earlier this week though.
“I honestly pulled out since September mentally, you know, when they basically were hitting us with the contract and you don’t even know when you’re opening. We don’t even know what this place is going to look like. We don’t know what we’re signing,” stated Garcia.
News 4 knows of at least three businesses who have now pulled out of the mall.
The last one being Yum Yum Goat.
Yum Yum Goat Owner, Rosa Alvarado said she actually had a fairly good experience working with Crossroads.
Alvarado told KFOR the straw that broke the camel’s back and pushed her out the door was the lack of communication.
“We don’t know who the owner is. We don’t know who’s the manager. We don’t know when the dates we’re supposed to be meeting and why they were not meeting and who was paying what. We had I think zero communication and then the bad publicity trip,” added Alvarado.
She said she also didn’t appreciate being told the mall would open on one date, but then later finding out it would be an even later date.
“There’s just a limit and I feel like we were just being played,” said Alvarado.
Alvarado was looking forward to expanding her business into a mall she grew up in, but that dream quickly faded.
She paid a deposit of $758, but was also refunded down the line as she no longer wanted to do business with the inside of the mall.
Alvarado said she likely wouldn’t work with the inside portion of the mall again, but if there was a one-day event on the outside that welcomed food trucks, she’d sign up for that.
News 4 asked Lawrence exactly how many vendors have pulled out of the mall, but she said to spit out a number would be “pure speculation.”
“We want to give everyone the opportunity that already had something in place the option to come back first, as long as they were professional and conducting themselves in a way that we feel is beneficial for both of us,” added Lawrence.
She said the goal of the mall’s owners is to get the place open as soon as possible, but some tenants couldn’t wait any longer.
Those who have pulled out of the deal have been issued refunds, according to Lawrence.
“Over 75% of them are wanting to come back, so as soon as it’s open, they’ll be coming back, going through the process again for renting. They’re going to stay. They’re going to come back to the mall and then we’ve been getting our inbox flooded with people who are ready to come move in again,” said Lawrence.
Out of 115 spaces for lease, Lawrence said they’ve only leased 26.
Lawrence claims because of the delays in materials and reopening, she has put a pause on tenant tours.
The only question left standing: When will Crossroads reopen?
“We will not give a date at this point. We refuse to do so because we can’t keep going off anything that we can’t predict and so with that, it just kind of started a little bit of the chaos that’s happened,” said Lawrence.