‘Regional draw’: $132 million sporting goods store eyed for Woodland Hills Mall | Local News

A Fargo, North Dakota-based retailer is drafting plans to invest approximately $132 million in a sporting goods store it would build at Woodland Hills Mall.

Scheels, which features aquariums, arcade games and an indoor Ferris wheel among its attractions, intends to demolish the mall’s former Sears site and build a 23,000-square-foot store that could open by fall 2024, said Casey Stowe, senior Vice President of Finance and Real Estate for PartnerTulsa, the city’s business development organization.

“It’s a huge investment,” Stowe said. “We believe it will not only lift the mall but the entire retail corridor from the traffic it will drive. … It’s a regional attraction. We really should be pulling from across the Green Country region.”

The company plans to employ 450 to 500 people, 40% of whom will be full-time, Stowe said. The mall’s owner, Simon Property Group, is a lead partner in the project, which is dependent on incentives subject to approval by Tulsa City Council, a city official said.

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The city council will debate an ordinance Wednesday declaring its intention to consider approving a project plan and creating a new funding district for sales tax hikes. The resolution will begin by creating the legal framework that will allow the city to collect a portion of business-generated sales tax for economic development.

“This is an incredible win for Tulsa and I am thrilled to have Scheels, a unique business, come to our city,” Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said in a statement. “When you think of the jobs that will be created and the people that will come to our city from across the region for Scheels, it’s just incredible testament to the teamwork that went into making this happen.

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“I want to thank PartnerTulsa for helping Scheels find a way to expand their business into our state – and I want to thank Simon Property Group for their persistence in making sure everything in the former Sears area being stuck, a big win for them would be Tulsa and for the 71st and memorial.”

Employee-owned Scheels offers retail stores in hunting, fishing, camping, golf, cycling, men’s and women’s fashion, and team sports. Brands it carries include Nike, Under Armor, Yeti, and Traeger. The Tulsa store would be the company’s first in Oklahoma and 34th nationwide.

“I just think it’s an incredible opportunity for our area,” said Councilman Lori Decter-Wright, who represents the district, which includes Woodland Hills Mall. “I am pleased that they want to be in Oklahoma and have chosen Tulsa as their first store.

“…It’s just going to be a great power source for this corridor. Malls and retail in general are in decline and with COVID and everyone shopping (shopping) more online this will surely be the next revival in this space.”

Sears was one of Woodland Hills’ anchor stores when the mall opened in 1976. Sears closed that location after filing for bankruptcy in late 2018. The site’s current occupant, Overstock Furniture & Mattress, has posted signs that it is closing.

The proposed store would be adjacent to District 8, where Phil Lakin serves as a councilman.

“Scheels is a game-changing addition to Tulsa’s largest sales-tax-generating corridor,” he said over the phone. “Financially, this investment will bring significant revenue to support public safety and road repairs. Equally important is the unique experience that Scheels will bring to this area, which needs to be continuously reinvested so that people from all over the region want to shop, eat and just have fun.”

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