TULSA, Okla. – The town of McAlester is set to receive a major economic boost when it opens its largest mall this spring.
FOX23 spent time Friday talking to Kirk Ridenour, director of economic development for the town of McAlester, about plans for the 200,000-square-foot mall that spanned seven years.
The $30 million development project is being undertaken by developer Burk Collins and Company, of Hurst, Texas.
The first anchor tenants to sign leases are Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx and Ross.
Other retailers soon followed, including Rack Room Shoes, Five Below, Burke’s Outlet.
Other retailers locating in outdoor lots of the mall include Starbuck’s, Chick-fil-A and Burger King, as well as a T-Mobile Store and Tropical Smoothie Café.
McAlester’s stores also attracted an Old Navy that was yet to be built.
The City of McAlester and the County of Pittsburgh have worked out a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, agreement with Burk Collins and Company to build and expand the mall.
In return, the developer will be able to collect the city and county’s share of sales tax revenue from retailers for five years, or until Collins recoups $5.5 million.
After that, the city expects the mall to generate $2 million a year in sales tax revenue for the city and $750,000 for the county.
Ridenour says it’s a lot:
“He has to make all these improvements from the start,” he said, “we don’t have the money, we don’t have the investment, and then he starts recovering his investment once those stores begin to generate.”
Hobby Lobby is the first anchor tenant set to open to the public on April 4.
Other retailers are expected to open in the coming months.
McAlester’s newest mall could also benefit existing businesses.
Steak and Shake co-owner Kyle Dusenberry is going to need a few extra hands tending to his store’s grill that overlooks McAlester’s new shops.
“Right now what we’re trying to do is try to hire and just build staff,” Dusenberry said, “so we’re all set for that increased traffic flow.”
Little did he and his father know that when they bought the Steak & Shake store nine years ago, they would find themselves right next to the biggest mall in town.
“The road just comes in there Steak and Shake,” Dusenberry noted, “so you gotta see me go or come in.”
Dusenberry isn’t the only one excited about the new mall.
“I don’t think there are enough words to explain it,” Brandi Seawright explained, “because we haven’t had any of this, so everyone is just extremely excited and waiting, it’s like getting closer to some of them with their potential dates, it gets more exciting.
Brandi Seawright, enjoying lunch with her husband Carl, says she has to go to Allen, Texas, Tulsa or Oklahoma City to go shopping.
When asked which stores she is most looking forward to, she quickly listed several, including Starbucks, Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx and Ross.
The 200,000 square foot parcel at US 69 and 14th Street in McAlester will feature major retailers and restaurants, including a Chick-Fil-A and an Old Navy.
City manager Peter Stasiak believes the new mall will also be a boon for local businesses.
“What we hope to see is more activity in our downtown area,” he said, “where we have more boutique-type stores, as well as the other restaurants in the area, and just being able to experience what McAlester has to offer.”
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