Outlet mall developer abandons Turkey Mountain site for Jenks location

Original post on TulsaWorld.com.

An outlet mall slated for the Turkey Mountain area is now headed to Jenks, according to an investor’s brochure from the developer and the mayor of Jenks.

Simon Property Group now intends to build its Tulsa Premium Outlets mall on land across the Creek Turnpike from the Oklahoma Aquarium, Mayor Kelly Dunkerley said Wednesday night.

According to a Simon Premium Outlets brochure created for investors earlier this month, the Jenks site will have 325,000 square feet of leasable space with 90 stores to open in the spring of 2017.

Officials with Simon and the city of Tulsa were not available to comment Wednesday night.

“We are extremely pleased that the Simon Property Group is going to build the Simon Premium Outlet site in Jenks,” Dunkerley said. “For Jenks, we think it complements the area wonderfully.”

In December, Simon Property Group unveiled plans for an outlet mall on private land near Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area.

That plan for a 48acre development with more than 350,000 square feet of leasable space drew strong reaction from Turkey Mountain patrons who feared that the outlet mall would encroach on their outdoor activities and the natural setting.

Dunkerley said most of the infrastructure needed to develop the Jenks site is already in place. City of Tulsa officials have said how to pay for infrastructure in the Turkey Mountain area had not been determined.

According to Tulsa County Assessor’s Office records, the Jenks site is owned by the River District Development Group LLC.

The land is already under contract for Simon Property group, according to a statement from the city of Jenks.

Dunkerley said the site is already part of a tax increment finance district, and Jenks residents in 2013 passed a road funding package that included streets in that area.

The roads will be constructed in conjunction with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and will be ready by the mall’s planned opening in 2017.

Jenks City Manager Mike Tinker said in a statement released by the city Monday night that “this shows investment drives opportunity. … The foresight to invest and plan means it was just a matter of time until a project would materialize the size and scope of the Simon Premium Outlets.”

Earlier this month, Tulsa officials were in discussions with the developers to look at a land swap that would keep the mall and resulting sales tax dollars in Tulsa.

As previously reported, the proposal would have Simon Property Group purchase the property it has under contract at 61st Street and U.S. 75 and could then swap that land with the city of Tulsa for the Bales Park property, a 67acre tract on the opposite (west) side of U.S. 75 at 5801 S. Union Ave.

The Jenks site, just west of the Arkansas River, east of Elm Avenue and south of the Creek Turnpike, has been the focus of previous development proposals that have not panned out.

Originally, the River District Development Group was pushing for a development with 852,000 square feet of upscale and unique shopping at a price tag of $1 billion. A host of restaurants, office spaces, condominiums, hotels and a performance fountain were in the plans. At one point, the site was pitched as a home for a new Tulsa Drillers stadium.

The 300acre site was cleared years ago, but developers said the slumping economy and a lack of capital slowed its development.

“We’re very pleased that this site works for them,” Dunkerley said of Simon. “It’s ready for them and others to build. … “The entire south Tulsa region, including Jenks, will benefit. There are a multitude of developments … for customers to choose from.”