Owasso clears way for Sam's Club construction
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
OWASSO — The City Council unanimously approved a $4 million-plus construction agreement between the Owasso Public Works Authority and Sam’s Real Estate Trust on Tuesday night, clearing the way for the building of a Sam’s Club.
Operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the membership-only warehouse store will be roughly 136,000 square feet and could open as early as the summer of 2013.
The City Council also approved the store’s final plat at the northeast corner of 96th Street North and 129th East Avenue.
“We have to rely on the city staff to take this and run with it,” Councilor Steve Cataudella said.
Sam’s Real Estate Trust intends to purchase about 30 acres, 18 of which will be used for the Sam’s Club store. Five additional lots will be prepared and available for retail and business uses.
The Sam’s store is expected to generate between $1.8 million and $2.2 million in annual sales tax revenue and will employ about 300 people.
To accommodate the development, water, sewer and street improvements must be made to the area. Sam’s initially would pay all costs for the design and construction of the upgrades, which is estimated at $4.6 million.
The construction agreement will allow the Owasso Public Works Authority to reimburse Sam’s an estimated $4.1 million from the sales taxes generated on the site.
The pact, also approved Tuesday by the Owasso Public Works Authority, provides that Sam’s would be reimbursed up to one-sixth of that amount annually.
Based on estimates of sales taxes generated by the project, the city would receive an additional $10.8 million to $13.2 million over the six-year period.
After reimbursing Sam’s for the public improvements, the city would have an estimated $6.7 million to $9.1 million in increased sales tax revenue during those six years.
Councilor Charlie Brown reiterated his belief that the city should cap its reimbursement.
“We feel comfortable that the taxpayer is going to get a fair-and-square deal,” City Manager Rodney Ray said.
The three residents who spoke to the council about the project Tuesday all live in the Windsor Lake subdivision, which is directly across the street from the property. Their concerns ranged from noise and light pollution to stormwater runoff.
“Owasso has been hungry for tax dollars,” resident Greg Alberty said of the project. “Let’s slow it down. … I like development. I just like appropriate controls.”
Of the potential light pollution, he added, “I don’t want to be backed up to lights.”
Resident Dale Alimena said the area will be a “traffic congestion nightmare.”
Street recommendations call for widening 96th Street North east from the site to 138th East Avenue; 129th East Avenue north from 96th Street North to the U.S. 169 frontage road; and the frontage road from 129th East Avenue to 99th Street North.
Officials have urged that traffic signals be placed at the entrances on 96th Street North and the frontage road.
Skate park upgrade: Also Tuesday, the council approved a $262,413 contract to Native Skateparks LLC for the construction of a major upgrade of the city’s skate park.
The facility will be enlarged from its current 17,000 square feet to 26,326 square feet, and its modular components will be replaced with concrete bowl structures, Larry Langford, Owasso’s director of recreation and culture, said recently.
A $161,000 increase in appropriations to the Park Development Fund will help pay for the project.