Sprouts Farmers Market proposal put on hold
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Thursday, October 18, 2012
10/18/12 at 3:44 AM
A development proposal that would include the city's first Sprouts Farmers Market specialty grocery store was put on hold Wednesday after the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission heard numerous complaints about the project from neighborhood residents.
As proposed, the grocery store would occupy about 26,000 square feet on the southeast corner of 41st Street and Harvard Avenue.
The store would be part of an existing planned unit development - or PUD - that the developer would like to modify to include a drive-through fast-food restaurant - a sticking point with most of Wednesday's speakers.
"We just feel that we worked hard to get an acceptable PUD with its limitations and that included no fast food," neighborhood resident Michael Claxton told commissioners.
After a two-hour public hearing, the commission voted to continue the case until Oct. 31 to give the developer an opportunity to respond to the residents' concerns and possibly modify his proposal.
"We appreciate the Planning Commission giving us the time to try to recast the project in a way that would be supported by the neighborhood," attorney Lew Reynolds, representing the developer, said after the meeting.
Reynolds was before the commission seeking to amended the PUD to increase the height and the maximum floor area of the Sprouts store, as well as to allow a drive-through window in the restaurant property.
Speaker after speaker rose to say he or she was not opposed to the grocery store but did have trouble with its size, proximity to the neighborhood and proposed landscaping.
Neighborhood resident Elizabeth Alpert described Sprouts as a "reputable organization" and said the store would be welcomed in the neighborhood - but not as proposed.
"What we have here is a big-box store," she said, adding, "Sprouts has actually been built all over the U.S. in all sorts of configurations and sizes, so there is flexibility.
"It's just what is about the bottom line: Is it about the developer making more money, or is it about bringing Sprouts to town?"
The project is being developed by Armstrong Development Properties Inc. of Chandler, Ariz.
Pete Shimkus, a vice president with Armstrong, said the company has spoken with McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants about being part of the development.
But he indicated that Sprouts' presence on the site was not necessarily contingent on there being a fast-food restaurant, as well.
Sprouts Farmers Market broke ground earlier this month in Bixby at 101st Street and Memorial Drive.
Shimkus told commissioners that Sprouts hopes to open in Tulsa next year.
Original Print Headline: Proposed Sprouts market on hold
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313