Park City this week approved a community improvement district for a major new outlet mall at the former Echo Hills Golf Course.
“I’ve been involved in several deals like this – this feels like a good one to me,” says city administrator Jack Whitson.
Developer Mike Loveland of J.P. Weigand & Sons has been working on developing the property, which is at the northwest corner of Interstate 135 and 53rd Street North.
Whitson says Loveland has the property under contract to sell to a group that has several other outlet malls in Oklahoma and elsewhere and has others in the works as well.
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He says the group has “several hundred thousand dollars” in earnest money on the project.
“You don’t put that kind of money – I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnest money – down unless you’re serious,” Whitson says.
He says there will be at least a couple of phases of development.
The first phase will be an outlet mall between 250,000 and 350,000 square feet with a major anchor tenant and 80 smaller shops.
It “will be about a $100 million project,” Whitson says.
He says the second phase will be apartments – 100 to 150 initially – that Loveland will develop.
“All these workers working in these stores have got to have a place to live, right?” Whitson says. “And there’s a shortage of apartments up here.”
Whitson says the developers expect to take six months to a year to assemble the project before beginning to build.
If they can’t attract tenants, he says, “Then I guess they won’t do it.”
Whitson says the developers are confident, though.
“They feel very positive because they’ve done it in other places,” he says.
Generally, the developers like to have a population of 1.6 million people within 60 miles, Whitson says, and the greater Wichita area has more like 600,000.
“We are the smallest market that they’re in,” Whitson says. “We’re a little shy on the population deal, but they like the location real good.”
He says traffic counts are especially good.
The community improvement district will allow the mall to charge an extra percent and a half in sales tax in order to make improvements to the property and what goes on it.
“They can use it for all kinds of different things,” Whitson says.
“It would be a good deal. … Hopefully, it’ll help our tax base.”
Though Whitson is as understated as ever, he acknowledges the mall would have a major impact on the small city.
“It’d make us more of a destination, certainly.”