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Hungry for Tax Revenue, Municipalities Serve Up Incentives to Lure Retailers and Developers

This summer, The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City will open, bringing a new offering to the local shopping scene. Developed by Horizon Group Properties Inc. and CBL & Associates Properties Inc., the 350,000-square-foot project is the first outlet center in the state and the only one within a 145-mile radius.

Situated on 65 acres just eight miles from downtown Oklahoma City, the center will create more than 1,000 new jobs for the community and generate more than $110 million in annual sales. It also will provide approximately $4 million of incremental local sales tax revenue to Oklahoma City, according to Horizon.

However, the center (and its sales tax revenue) could easily have ended up in Yukon, a western suburb, if Oklahoma City hadn’t offered several incentives, according to Brent Bryant, economic development program manager for the city of Oklahoma City.

“Historically, we’ve been very limited in what we do for retail incentives,” Bryant says. “Our city council is conservative and reluctant to get into the retail incentive game. Our decision to offer incentives for the outlet center was more of a defensive posture rather than offensive posture.”

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