The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 3, 2012

Committee to study TIF district for Oakwood de-malling

ENID — Enid City Commission voted Tuesday to create a review committee to study a possible Tax Increment Finance district for the de-malling project at Oakwood Mall.

Commissioners approved a resolution to establish the review committee, which will include representatives of all of the agencies in Garfield County that receive ad valorem taxes, plus members of the city commission. That committee will study proposals for requested funding and will make a recommendation to the city commission.

Garfield County Assessor Wade Patterson said the process could take 60 days or longer. Public meetings will be held to receive input. Ward 2 City Commissioner Mike Stuber will be chairman of the review committee.

Patterson said the plan to turn the mall into an outdoor regional shopping center will boost the valuation of the mall.

“It’s expected to be a $35 million project when it’s finished,” Patterson said, “and the mall is currently valued at $12 million. It’s gone down in value. When I became assessor it was valued at $22 million. Revenue versus expenses have decreased based on the income approach.”

This will be the first project in which the city contributes sales tax as part of a Tax Increment Finance agreement, he said. The city reportedly will share revenue growth as part of the TIF, which goes to the developer as a way to help  finance the project.

A TIF district establishes an area in which increased ad valorem taxes will be delayed for a specific period of time. The funds would be used to help defray construction costs of the improvement. In the meantime, tax-receiving agencies will continue to receive taxes at the current ad valorem rate. At the end of the TIF district time, the higher ad valorem taxes would be collected.

The entities that receive ad valorem tax revenue in Garfield County all are public schools: Autry Technology Center, Garfield County Health Department, city of Enid sinking fund and Garfield County government.

Eighty-two cents of each dollar in ad valorem taxes go into education, according to the assessor’s office.

Vector Securities revealed a plan in June to purchase and renovate, or “de-mall,” Oakwood Mall. The plan calls for construction of new buildings on the front side of the mall property, and moving current tenants into them. The mall itself will be destroyed, except for anchor stores Dillard’s, JCPenny and Sears, which will be maintained and new facades built. James Dill, CEO of Vector Securities, said those stores also may remodel the inside portion of their business.

The TIF concept has been used previously in Enid, including one for AdvancePierre Foods. Once the TIF agreement is approved, the city will sell bonds to obtain the construction money up front, Patterson said. The indebtedness will be paid with property taxes at the higher ad valorem rate the project will gain.

Patterson said the length of the TIF depends on the amount needed to be raised by the developer. He does not expect it to be more than seven to 10 years. Dill said the plans call for “de-malling,” or the complete change of the mall into an outdoor, regional shopping center, and adding new jobs with new nationally-known stores.

The plan would add several new retailers, including Petco, Maurice’s and Ulta, and move Showplex Cinema to a freestanding building on the southwest corner of the mall property, as a new 10- or 12-screen theater.

Dill said the existing Chen Garden restaurant will relocate, and developers are negotiating with Olive Garden, Texas and/or Logan’s Roadhouse, Los Cabos Mexican Grill, Charleston’s restaurant and others.

The company is talking with existing businesses about relocating from the mall building to the new retail space, surrounded by a landscaped plaza with a water feature.

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