Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Horizon Group Properties considering 'high-end' outlet in east Tulsa

By ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer on Sep 10, 2013, at 6:07 PM  Tulsa World

The owner of The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City is in discussions to build a similar “high-end” factory outlet mall in east Tulsa, city officials confirmed Tuesday.

Michigan-based Horizon Group Properties and Charlotte, N.C.-based Collett & Associates, the developer of the Tulsa Hills shopping center, seek to build a large outlet mall on a 64.8-acre parcel at 129th East Avenue and Interstate 44, officials said.

Although officials characterized the discussions as highly preliminary and said a deal may be contingent upon city incentives, Mayor Dewey Bartlett said he is confident a deal will be reached.

An outlet mall similar to the one in Oklahoma City would be a major sales-tax generator, potentially drawing shoppers from as far as surrounding states, he said.

“To me, it’s a reaffirmation of Tulsa’s business climate, our growing market and certainly positive outreach in the business community,” he said. “The hundreds of thousands of dollars that it will create in tax revenues is a pretty good payback for the outreach that we’ve done.”

Factory outlet malls typically contain retailers found in shopping malls but with larger selections and lower prices.

The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City has about 90 businesses over 350,000 square feet, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, GAP and Tommy Hilfiger.

Tulsa’s Woodland Hills Mall, in comparison, has 165 stores and 1 million square feet.

“An outlet mall like this, you’ve got a wide variety of stores,” Economic Development Director Clay Bird said. “You’ve got larger square-footage (per store), more product available and certainly fewer stores than you’d have in a Woodland Hills Mall, but you’ve got some sort of (factory) discount possible.”

Bird stressed that the city has seen no concrete plans for the development and that the developers still have “a lot of due diligence” to do, including surveying the property and evaluating the environmental impact of a development.

They may also seek “some sort of incentives,” but they have yet to discuss the details with the city, he said.

“Certainly, we want to work with them as much as we can,” Bird said.

Gina Slectha, marketing director for Horizon Group Properties, said she could not comment on the development because “this is a project that we’ve not announced.”

Robert Collett, founder of Collett & Associates, did not return phone calls from the Tulsa World on Tuesday.

Bartlett and Bird credited Retail Marketing Coordinator Tammy Fate with piquing the developers’ interest, saying she has worked for months to market Tulsa as the site for an outlet mall.

Fate said such a development makes sense for Tulsa.

With the nearest outlet malls hours away, Tulsa’s outlet mall would be in a position to draw shoppers from a large radius, potentially including northwest Arkansas and southeastern Kansas, she said.

“There’s such a demand for the one that’s in Oklahoma City and it seems that there’s a lot of consumers that say that’s a need,” she said. City Councilor Skip Steele, who represents east Tulsa, announced the development during a council committee meeting Tuesday.

He said it would spur substantial growth in underdeveloped areas of east Tulsa, potentially creating a larger regional draw by attracting people who are drawn to Catoosa’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The site is directly behind a McDonald’s restaurant and would abut I-44 near its interchange with Interstate 244.

Although Steele said the developers may be interested in building a hotel along with the outlet mall, Fate said she has seen no plans for that.

However, the developers have indicated that some kind additional development might be included, she said.

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