Theater and family entertainment center will anchor $40 million development along I-40 and Scott Street
By Jeff Harrison
A once blighted apartment complex will be the site of a $40 million commercial development including a movie theater, Del City officials announced Monday night.
The Del City Council approved a redevelopment agreement with Hunt Properties, of Texas, for the property near Scott Street and I-40. The project will be anchored by a 65,000-square-foot state of the art movie theater and family entertainment complex. A “top notch” grocery store and four restaurants will also be included.
“This is a development that will radically change the view of this city as people drive in,” said Tom Leatherbee, community services director.
Del City will contribute about $10.5 million towards the project through a tax increment financing or “TIF” district. Sales and property taxes generated within the TIF district boundaries would be used for site work and construction.
The city council voted 3-0 in favor of the redevelopment agreement during a meeting Monday night. Mayor Brian Linley and Councilman Michael Dean were absent.
The city created a sales tax TIF District to redevelop the property. Leatherbee said they are looking to include property taxes in the TIF to provide adequate funding for the project. He said the TIF District will likely last about 20 years.
“The development that materialized is far larger than anything we ever expected and quite honestly needs more public improvements than the sales tax would be able to provide on its own,” Leatherbee said.
The first phase of the project will be the theater building and related site work, which is estimated to cost about $25 million. The second phase will include restaurants and a grocery store.
City officials believe the project will serve as catalyst for redevelopment in the area. Leatherbee said there are several nearby properties that could be developed, including the former Fantasy Island property that is owned by the city.
“We’re not going to stop here,” Leatherbee said.
Leatherbee said the city still has many details to iron out before the project begins. Those included amending the project plan according to the Local Development Act, relocating overhead power lines and oil pipelines, and clearing up titles.
“We’ll be working on that diligently for the next month or two,” Leatherbee said. “But we hope to be in position to move this project forward very, very soon.”
The developer is expected to announce more details about the project within the next couple weeks.
According to the redevelopment agreement, infrastructure improvements are expected to begin within the next six months and completed within a year. The movie theater is expected to be completed within two years. The additional retail development is scheduled to be finished within three years.
In addition to the redevelopment agreement, the council also approved a special use permit for the permit to allow for alcohol sales in the area targeted for redevelopment. Leatherbee said the special use permit would allow for alcohol sales at restaurants and the theater and would save time with additional zoning requests. Stand-alone drinking establishments such as night clubs or bars would not be permitted. The city used similar process in advance of the development at Sooner Rd. and I-40.
The now vacant property was the site of the former Eagle Point Apartments and a gas station. The city demolished the dilapidated apartment complex in late 2014. The gas station and old Fantasy Island strip club were acquired through eminent domain and razed last year.