As has been reported earlier, the City Council appointed the Midwest City Local Development Act Review Committee (Committee) to review and make recommendations concerning a mixed-use commercial development project proposed by Sooner Investment Group, Inc. (Developer) to be in the northeast corner of the intersection of S.E. 15th ST and S. Sooner Road. The project name is Sooner Rose 2 Development.
The Committee was comprised of representatives from the affected taxing jurisdictions, along with community at-large members. Through a process that took three meetings, the Committee has unanimously approved the project plan to move forward to the City Council. The Council will hold two public hearings, tentatively scheduled for March 14 and 28.
If approved, the project will be a part of a Tax Increment District (TIF), which allows for the ad valorem taxes and a portion of the sales and use taxes to be used to pay back the investment, thus, delaying the pay-out of such taxes to the taxing entities for the term of the pay-off, which is 20 years. The City expects to contribute all 3.85% of the sales tax revenue produced by the Warren Theatre and .88% of the sales tax revenue produced by other businesses in the Sooner Rose 2 Development.
The proposed project is expected to accommodate up to twelve new fast food and casual dining restaurants, an anchor retailer and several boutique retail stores. In addition, Warren Theatres intends to develop and construct a luxury theater that will consist of ten auditoriums on the main floor and 4 auditoriums on the 2nd floor balcony area, utilizing state-of-the-art projection and sound technology.
The Developer estimates that the development, construction and operation of the project will create over 300 full and part-time jobs.
Kay Medcalf, Mid-Del Schools Chief Financial Officer, who represented the school system on the Committee said that the schools would have preferred to be held harmless, but, they feel this is something that is the best for the City and the school system, in the long run. “The schools want the City to succeed because when that occurs, the schools succeed, as well,” Medcalf said.
Robert Coleman, Economic Development Director appreciated concerns voiced by both the Mid-Del Public Schools and Rose State College as the plan was considered. “Being the spouse of an educator, I fully understand the schools trepidation. Ultimately, we feel this project will be a significant benefit to their revenue streams and will create employment and recreational opportunities to area students, that would not be available otherwise,” Coleman said.
City Manager Guy Henson said that this decision was a difficult one for the taxing entities. He said that if there had been another option to go forward with the plan, the City would have probably chosen that. “These are the types of investments that we must have to move forward in the development of our City,” Henson said.
The next steps of the process include rezoning of the property and negotiating the final contracts with both the Developer and Warren Theatres, Inc. Finally, the City Council must adopt the final project plan and has tentatively scheduled two public meetings, one on March 14 and the final one on March 28.