|Updated: 10/18/2012 10:39 am
||Published: 10/17/2012 5:14 pm
The City of Broken Arrow announced two new economic development plans Wednesday that city leaders say will increase sales tax revenues.
The city branded its Main Street area as the "Rose District" as part of a newly finalized streetscape improvement plan.
It also announced a new, upscale retail development that will feature bars and restaurants and high end retail stores. The anchor for the new development will be a 14-screen Warren movie theater.
The Shops at Aspen Creek will be built on a 100 acre site just south of the Creek Turnpike at Aspen.
For years the City of Broken Arrow has been trying to bring more retail options to town to draw business and sales tax revenue from Tulsa, Coweta and other neighborhing cities.
City leaders are hoping the Warren Theater will be the attraction that draws the extra business, because it offers such a unique movie-watching experience. Warren theaters are upscale, and serve alcohol and full meals. But that unique experience is not cheap.
The closest Warren Theater to Broken Arrow is in Moore, Oklahoma, south of Oklahoma City. The Moore location has been overwhelmingly successful. Based on that success, the developer, Daniel Signorelli, projects the Warren Theater in Broken Arrow will attract roughly 1.2 million people a year, generating more than $750,000 in sales tax revenue. That's why the City of Broken Arrow is offering more than $7 million in incentives to build the development.
"I think that's great, because there's nothing down south," Pam Clowdis said. "Because [if] you drive down Indian Springs, there's nothing. You know, Walmart and that's it."
The question is whether the Shops at Aspen Creek will draw people from outside of Broken Arrow to spend money. Clowdis thinks it will.
"Especially all the people like in Coweta, they'll come over," Clowdis said. "And I live in far south Tulsa, and I'll definitely go."
City leaders say it worked with Bass Pro Shops. But Bass Pro didn't have cheaper competition already in town.
Adult tickets for an evening show at the Cinemark theater in Broken Arrow are under $10. Adult tickets to an evening show at Warren Theaters start at $10 and range up to more than $20.
Meanwhile, Broken Arrow is also working to attract new business to Main Street downtown with the new "Rose District" branding. The city is planning to spend between $700,000 and 800,000 per block on the streetscape improvement project. The current plan is to revamp at least two blocks, and possibly a third. The project will narrow Main Street down to three lanes of traffic, extend sidewalks to allow for sidewalk seating at restaurants, add extra parking in the area, and plant roses and other beautifying elements.
"We're really trying to make it more of a destination," Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond said. "And so it's important, and that's why we did a branding and naming of downtown."
Azmy Elghazaly owns Family Back Creek Deli on Main Street, and said he worries the investment in the streetscape project won't be quite as lucrative as city leaders expect.
"Mostly I think it's going to be evening, nothing in the daytime," he said. "I don't know if a lot of people will come from different areas to shop during the day."
Since his deli is only open for lunch, Elghazaly doesn't think the streetscape improvements will help him at all.
But Clowdis is a fan of the project, and said she thinks when people discover the Rose District at night, they will come back during the day.
"I think it will be neat," she said. "It's ok now, but I think it will be really pretty."
Whether it will increase sales tax revenues, only time will tell.
But Signorelli is very confident the Shops at Aspen Creek will bring in significantly more tax revenue. On top of the $750,000 in sales tax collections the theater is expected to bring, he estimates the entire development will bring in at least $3 million in sales taxes every year.
Warren Theaters is based in Wichita, Kansas, but has theaters in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The Broken Arrow theater will be the company's eighth location.
Signorelli would not say what other businesses might go into the Shops at Aspen Creek besides the Warren theater, but he did tell FOX23 News that he has had overwhelming interest from a wide range of businesses. He said he is certain most, if not all, of the retail space will be leased out the day the development opens.
Signorelli said he plans to break ground on the Shops at Aspen Creek sometime in March or April, 2013. He expects the entire development to open for business sometime near the end of 2013, or early 2014.