|Updated: 7/30/2013 5:21 pm
||Published: 7/30/2013 4:52 pm
Broken Arrow hopes a brand-new development will be a new economic engine for the growing city.
City officials are calling it the Shops at Aspen Creek, but right now it's a field full of high grass and trees.
Over the next 18 months, developers plan to turn the area near Elm Street and the Creek Turnpike into a regional entertainment district.
"We are very excited. We've been out here forfive years and there are still a lot of people in this area that don't even know we're here," said Cato Fashions manager Monica Burke.
She learned about the Shops at Aspen Creek last year. She's very pleased by the announcement of its first tenant: Warren Theaters.
That's just the beginning, said Broken Arrow Chamber President Wes Smithwick.
"We expect retail and restaurants here; there is a multi-family component in the high end, in the master plan. Perhaps even a hotel," he said.
Along with all that will be hundreds of jobs.
The shops are nestled between the Creek Turnpike to the north, 121st Street to the south and Walmart to the east.
The 110-acre development has been a long time coming.
"Well, for many years we've developed on the north side of town, near the BA Expressway the last 10 years, and nothing has really happened here. And now we have the beginnings for what we hope is a parallel retail development project for the south end of BA," he said.
Retail development exploded in north Broken Arrow after Bass Pro opened its doors in 2005.
The draw of regional consumers brought in other retailers and Smithwick hopes the same is true for the Shops at Aspen Creek.
"We are seeing more and more non-Broken Arrow residents commute to BA to work. This movie theater and retail complex will be very similar in nature," he said.
Burke is already getting a jump start on the competition: "We are hiring for a couple of part-time positions and a part-time second position right now."
FOX23 learned the first phase is just days away. Street crews will begin a widening project on Aspen and 121st Street, widening Aspen to five lanes and 121st will go from two lanes to five lanes.