By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
A developer is looking to buy property owned by Midwest City for a new shopping center.
Sooner Investment Group, Inc. would like to buy 13 acres near SE 29th St. and Douglas Blvd. that would be used for a small shopping center. The development would include space for 4-5 restaurants and small spaces for retail.
The Oklahoma City developer asked the city for the option to purchase the property as it works to line up tenants for the development.
“They want to scout some prospects that we think will be very beneficial to the city and in the meantime, they need to get insurance that the environmental aspect of the property is cleared,” said Robert Coleman, Midwest City economic development director.
The Midwest City Memorial Hospital Authority, which consists of the city council, approved a resolution last Tuesday night declaring 8800-8832 SE 29th St. as surplus with an “option to purchase” between the Authority and Sooner Investment.
Coleman said the site lacks some utilities and is a patchwork of zoning districts including some industrial which raised concerns.
Midwest City will need to extend water and sewer to the property. The city has a water line on the north side of SE 29th St. which can be connected by boring under the roadway. Adding sewer will be more costly as the nearest main is about ¼ of a mile north of the development.
Coleman wasn’t sure on the costs for the utilities, but hoped the work could be completed as part of an upcoming project to rebuild the intersection of SE 29th St. and Douglas Blvd.
An environmental study must also be conducted on the property before it can be redeveloped. Eagle Industries, which polluted groundwater near SE 29th St. and Westminster Rd., previously operated on part of the property. In 2018, the city conducted a phase 2 study of the portion of the property where Eagle Industries operated, following reports about possible contamination by a former employee. The study showed minor contamination.
Eagle Industries had also been cited for using radioactive materials at the property in the 8800 block SE 29th St. A building on the property was demolished and the soil beneath it was excavated and placed into large drums. The drums were later buried and encased in concrete as part of the cleanup.
Coleman said the city is trying to use grant funding to complete a study on the remainder of the property. He said they may tap into city funds if they cannot receive the grants soon.
Environmental studies include two phases. A phase 1 study includes looking at records and speaking with anyone affiliated with the property to determine any possible sources of contamination. A phase 2 study includes taking soil samples and testing for contaminants.
Midwest City originally acquired the property in the 8800 block of SE 29th St. as a potential location for a small entertainment complex and movie theatre. It was no longer needed after the Warren Theatre and Andy’s Altitude 1291 were built as part of the Sooner Rose Shopping Center near SE 15th St. and Sooner Rd.
The property has attracted attention from developers. In June of 2018, Franklin Land Associates, which has ties to GBT Realty Corp. in Brentwood, Tennessee, had the property under contract for a potential development that never materialized.
“We’ve had others approach us about the property, but it was never anything glamorous,” Coleman said. “It’s a prime retail spot with about 80,000 cars passing by the property every day.”