By BOB LEWIS
As the nation continues the process of revitalizing an economy ravaged by the coronavirus shutdown, experts point out the importance of cities and states being proactive in attracting new business.
Broken Arrow appears to be well ahead of the curve in this vital area. A quick look at pre- and post-virus developments paints a very positive picture.
Work is nearing completion on a major retail/apartment complex on North Main Street that is expected to expand the city’s award-winning Rose District well to the north and make Main Street a dynamic residential location.
Development is underway on the Tiger Hill Plaza, a 30,000 square-foot retail and business complex that is slated to open at Kenosha and Lynn Lane in 2021.
An advisory committee is hard at work reviewing plans submitted by a professional development consulting firm to finalize recommendations for a major revitalization of the 101st and Main intersection.
Groundbreaking is slated to begin later this year for a mental health hospital at Aspen and the Creek Expressway which will have regional significance by enhancing the state’s healthcare delivery capabilities.
Added to this impressive list is the status of work currently underway on a facility that local officials say could become a national “new business magnet” for clean industry operations.
Ground was broken in October of 2019 for the Creek 51 Business Park at 8600 E. Hwy. 51, just west of the Creek Expressway. The developer expects the first sites in the $73 million 90-acre park to be ready this fall.
“Creek 51 Business Park is our City’s first large Business Park in over 30 years,” said Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond. “It gives businesses an opportunity to locate or expand in Broken Arrow. But more importantly, it gives Broken Arrow citizens an opportunity to work close to home in our community. That’s what I am really excited about.”
The facility is being developed by Ford Development Corp. with the help of a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District, only the second such area in the history of Broken Arrow. The other one is the downtown area, which includes FlightSafety and the Rose District.
Unlike that first TIF, where the city took out a loan to pay for improvements, the new park is being funded up front by the developer. Half of the ad valorem taxes on the property will go toward reimbursing the firm’s investment. The remaining half will go to taxing entities for a maximum of 10 years or $5 million, whichever comes first.
The City Council approved creation of the new TIF District in August of 2019 after receiving support from the other taxing entities involved, including Broken Arrow Public Schools, Tulsa Technology Center, Wagoner County, the Wagoner County Health Department and Rural Water District No. 4.