City administrators approved resolution 52-22 regarding a shopping center at the Tuesday, August 16, city council meeting.
Board members voted 5 to 1, with Director David Allen abstaining. The mall will be a three-unit complex that is expected to house Ross’ Dress for Less, TJ Maxx and Five Below, according to city administrator Phillip Patterson.
Patterson hosted a development workshop before the start of the city council meeting where he explained details of the mall, including a $1.5 million incentive package requested by developer Burk Collins and Company.
The incentive package includes waiving all building and impact permit fees, which are valued at $131,613; extend city utilities to the project site, which is valued at $165,000 and will cost the city $58,000 and reimburse the developer for a percentage of the anticipated sales tax revenue generated by the project, totaling $1,203,387 $ for the first seven years, Patterson said.
Burk Collins has developed similar projects in other towns that have roughly the same population as Siloam Springs, Patterson said.
Developments include Market Street in Ardmore, Okla., and most recently The Shops at McAlester in McAlester, Okla., Patterson said.
Stores in McAlester opened in April this year, according to McAlester Mayor John Browne. The city’s incentive program from McAlester to Burk Collins was $5.5 million upfront or had to be refunded 90% of sales tax for five years, Browne said.
McAlester’s stores have been a boon to the city so far, Browne said. Retailers include Ross, TJ Maxx, Burkes Outlet and Hobby Lobby, according to burkcollins.com.
“We are very pleased with the agreement we have reached,” Browne said.
Jimmy Cox, the current chairman of Burk Collins, said the company has specialized in retail development for 52 years.
“We’ve specialized in retail development. We’ve also done residential, industrial and medical offices, but retail is the bulk of our business, probably around 90%,” Cox said. “Over those 52 years, we’ve cultivated relationships with retailers that are very near and dear, and a big part of that, as Phillip mentioned, is that we’ve found a niche market by working in that which we call regional hubs.”
City managers were mostly positive about the project, although a few had questions about the development.
Director Lesa Rissler said she only spoke to Patterson a few months ago for five minutes about the project while she was in her office on another issue and didn’t feel ready to vote. on this issue for now.
“As a director, one of the things I like to do is take the written copy of everything I get and take it to experts in the field and ask them to give me feedback, give me the pros, give me the cons,” Rissler said. She went on to say that she would like the board to present this issue.
Allen, whose brother is involved in this development, spoke only about the administration of the calendar. Allen said he has never seen a workshop on an agenda that is then followed by a decision on that workshop.
Allen also said it was the first time he had heard of the project and disagreed with director Carol Smiley who said that while she doesn’t know the specific companies involved, Patterson had spoken to her and she thinks other board members regarding this project.
“The information about that didn’t come out until Thursday,” Allen said. “So this is something that’s detailed and hasn’t been released to the public, let alone the board, but I’m just saying that historically we’ve never had a workshop followed by a decision on something so important.”
This led to a brief argument between Allen and Smiley regarding when the mall information was given to the council.
Allen also said that when he was previously a council member, it was a courtesy to file an issue if a council member asks for the filing and doesn’t understand why there is a rush if a council member wants to do more research. .
Director Reid Carroll agreed with Smiley, saying Patterson also spoke to him at the Arkansas Municipal League conference in June. Carroll said Patterson gave him some grounding because it prepared the board’s thought process.
“When I saw this I felt like I had good information and I agree with the percentages,” Carroll said. “I like the research that’s been done. I appreciate the gentlemen who came out tonight, so I feel like we’re prepared for that.”
Manager Brad Burns said he was not at the Arkansas Municipal League conference, but said information about the mall had come to light and as an elected official he was to his duty to take a leadership role and make a decision now instead of dragging it out. .
Rissler said all board members serve citizens, but she serves citizens in a different way because she cares about what they have to say.
“I’m not here to represent myself,” Rissler said. “I am here to be the voice of the citizens. When they elected me, they did not elect me to take away their voice.”
Rissler then made a motion to table the question. The motion failed with a 5-2 vote, with Allen and Rissler being the only directors to vote to table the question.
After the vote, Rissler said she was not against the project, but felt she did not have time to do proper research on this issue.
Following Rissler’s comments, the board voted to approve the resolution.
City managers also voted on the following:
• Presentation of new police officers Prentice Carter; Esteban Gallegos; Daniel Newton and BenTaylor.
• Approval of the August 2 workshop minutes.
• Approve the minutes of the August 2 regular meeting.
• Approve a contract with Less Lethal Axon Enterprise Inc. for Tasers for the police department as well as a budget amendment for the 2022 budget in the amount of $191,107.
• Approve a budget amendment for the purchase of a vehicle from Superior Automotive for the police department in the amount of $43,483.
• Approval of a framework services agreement with Garver Engineering.
Agreements and contracts
• Approval of the first renewal of City Lake’s water use agreement with Southwestern Electric Power Company.
• Approval of a landowner agreement with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership in the amount of $102,000 for the Kayak Park Conservation Plan.
•. Approve a budget amendment for the purchase of a vehicle from Superior Automotive for the fire department in the amount of $48,000.
• Rejecting an offer from Howard Technology Solutions in the amount of $114,989 for the Town Hall Boardroom Renovation Project and directing staff to seek other offers.
• Place Ordinance 22-20 regarding the annexation of 14,087 acres for the 21000 block of Arkansas Highway 16 at third reading and proceed to a separate vote to pass the ordinance.
• Place Order 22-21 regarding the rezoning of the 2400 to 2600 block of East Kenwood Street from R-3 (Two-Family Residential) to R-2 (Multi-Family Residential) at second and third readings and then make a separate decision to vote for adopt the ordinance.
• Place Order 22-22 regarding the annexation of 1.96 acres at 21733 Carousel Drive for second reading.
• Place Ordinance 22-23 establishing a Public Utilities Commission at second reading.
• Administrator’s report.