On September 10th, the Cherokee Nation announced a proposed outlet mall to be built beside the Hard Rock Casino in Catoosa. An outside firm is planning on investing 80 million dollars and the complex will be built on Cherokee land. CNB would build an entertainment and dining area called the “District” between the mall and the casino. The cost of the “District” was not stated in the news articles.
The finished complex of retail stores, restaurants and an “entertainment center” is projected to create 1,000 on-going jobs with additional jobs in the construction process. There will be 300,000 square feet of leasable space with a focus on upscale shops for about 100 retailers. And the whole thing will be called “Cherokee Outlets.”
Check out the articles in the sidebar for more details.
If the name, “Cherokee outlets” has a familiar ring to it, it’s because you may have heard it in history books. The Cherokee Outlet was an area of land in Northwest Oklahoma that was once owned by the Cherokee Nation. As pointed out on Facebook comments about this topic, its history included legal disputes and a land run ending up with widespread corruption. Well, maybe the developers didn’t know that.
What is somewhat interesting about the proposed new mall is that on August 20th, almost three weeks before this announcement, another major developer broke ground on a similar outlet mall project in southwest Tulsa. And more interesting, even another developer announced that they would complete with the first one to build an outlet mall in northeast Tulsa.
Counting them up, that’s three major outlet malls competing for high class retail stores and potential shoppers.
Representatives for the company that has already broken ground on its project, the Simon Group, said the mall was already 90 percent leased. The first businesses are to open in spring 2015 and the last to be finished by September. They said their project would be similar to their Outlets near Dallas that include stores like Neiman Marcus, Adidas, Ann Taylor, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Coach, Gap Outlet, J. Crew, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, and others.
The other mall development, proposed by the Horizon Group Properties, developer of the Tulsa Hills shopping center, has been in the planning stages for at least a year. They announced plans for their mall one day after the Simon Group.
And last in the list of developers is the Cherokee Nation’s partner, Woodmont Outlets. Woodmont’s most recent development in Missouri included retailers there include Armani, Coach, Crabtree & Evelyn, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue, Vera Bradley, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Woodmont said they were very confident they could bring in retailers and stated they will start negotiations with retailers within a week following their announcement.
What does this all mean? Since the mall is not a CNB project on trust land, and the 1,000 jobs appear to be managed by Woodmont Outlets, the complex would not offer any preferential hiring for Cherokees. And all retail sales would be subject to state and local sales taxes.
At this point, the details of the partnership and how profits are shared are unknown. From these articles, it seems CNB will just be leasing the land with little or no control over the mall’s operation. But it does appear that CNB may build its own entertainment area with new upscale restaurants between the mall and casino.
At this point it all appears somewhat confusing – and odd that three major upscale outlets malls announce their projects within three weeks of each other. Keep in mind, all three projects are proposed developments so that maybe only one, or possibly two outlet malls will be built. There just aren’t enough high-end retail stores to go around.