The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

November 13, 2012

It’s time to get moving on the ‘de-malling’ project

ENID, Okla. — Now that the Tax Increment Finance district has been approved for the Oakwood Mall Now that the Tax Increment Finance district has been approved for the Oakwood Mall renovation projection, we expect things to start moving ahead.

Enid City Commission approved the plan last week to help pay for construction related to the “de-malling” project, which will convert Oakwood Mall from an indoor mall to an outdoor shopping area, adding a number of nationally known businesses and several restaurants.

The project, which is expected to cost about $35 million, will include constructing 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, JCPenney and Sears, which will be maintained and new facades built.

Vector Properties will invest $30 million in the mall project, while the TIF plan will pick up the rest. Vector will buy the mall and convert it.

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 improvements. 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.

Now, it’s up to Vector to get the project moving ahead. This is a hot retail market: Several consecutive months of increased sales tax receipts for the city show that. And, since taxpayer money is involved, city officials need to continually check in with Vector to make sure the project is moving.

Frankly, it’s time to end the uncertainty about the project.

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