The resistance has reached a clear and eloquent critical mass, a decided ripening that’s accelerated over the past few months. Simon has twice requested additional time to prepare for its meeting with the Planning Commission, which is now expected to take place June 17.
“I think they need to listen to the people. What is best for the public, best for the people that live in this area,” Turkey Mountain supporter, Sue Marlof said.
*note – Simon Group was invited but did not respond to the invitation.
“Based upon an in-depth review of Simon’s plans, their lack of follow up detail, and how these plans do not respect the surrounding properties and their future intended use, Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition cannot support Simon’s development plans and requests for public tax incentives for this site. We wish Simon well in the Tulsa market but feel it is unfortunate they selected this site without apparent consideration for what pristine urban wilderness means to not just Tulsa, but the entire region,”
TUWC public relations coordinator Laurie Biby said.
Simon appears reluctant to share any of its 2,000 parking spaces with trail users. Instead, the company plans to go to the George Kaiser Family Foundation (one of the property owners adjacent to the proposed mall site) and see if the foundation would mind tearing up its property to put an additional 50 or so parking spaces and trailhead access. It’s been communicated to Simon that trail users do not want to sacrifice even more wild land for parking.
The outlet mall at Turkey Mountain would degrade quality of life for Tulsa. Notice I didn’t say an outlet mall on its own is a bad thing. But rather an outlet mall in that location would degrade a real asset for the city, an area with more than 40 miles of wooded trails for hikers, cyclists, runners, geocachers and equestrians. Individuals and families go there to experience nature on its terms without having to drive out of the city. As it exists, the greater Turkey Mountain area is a prime site for people to get outside, exercise and get in tune with nature like no other place in the city. Plopping a mall on a chunk of that land would degrade the experience.
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I’d argue that the proposed Premium Shoppes at Turkey Mountain is a plan destined for failure. And what will that leave us with, should that come to pass? A barren parking lot with empty buildings sitting atop what used to be wild, old-growth forest that people and wildlife once enjoyed. A city asset will become a liability, and there won’t be any chance of recovering what it used to be.
To some, an outlet mall is the best gift ever–new jobs for our city, more sales tax revenue, and BARGAINS! Ask 1,000 people from all areas and walks of life–“Would you like to have a Premium Outlet Mall in Tulsa?” 95% of Tulsans would answer yes. I am sure of that. But ask the SAME 1,000 people a second question–“If another location for the mall could be found that did not have a negative impact on Tulsa’s Urban Wilderness, would you be in favor of putting it in another location? I bet at least 80% would favor another location.
Like other centers in the outlet industry, business had dropped off.
At the end of October, sales in outlet center stores open at least a year had dropped almost 2 percent nationwide, according to Value Retail News.
In Stroud, about eight of the 53 stores were not in operation at the time of the tornado.
“Guess, Levi’s and the golf shop had left recently,” Maddux said. Another store was considering leaving, he said.
When the mall was announced, Tanger estimated the facility would generate $1.5 million in annual sales taxes for Stroud.
But the city has never seen figures that high.