Jenks Council OKs TIF for $1 Billion River District

The Jenks City Council has voted unanimously to create a Tax Increment Financing District allowing developers to prepare 300 acres for a $1 billion mixed-use development.
The development, a privately-financed River District, is forecast to create more than 4,000 permanent jobs and thousands more in construction jobs as the development is built in the next five to six years, the Jenks Journal reported.
The TIF, the second for the town of Jenks, allows the ad valorem (property) tax to be frozen for 18 years. The money saved by the measure will allow developers, not the city, to shoulder expenses for infrastructure, basically non-existent.
The land, much of it in 100-year flood plain, has been a hayfield. An existing lake will be utilized, but pipelines will have to be moved.
The action came after the second of two public hearings in which the Jenks School District asked that it receive a “fair” compensation. The amount set aside by the TIF is estimated at $294,000 if the project unfolds as proposed.
The River District development, if constructed as currently planned, would be the largest mixed-use development in the state and include more than 800,000 SF of high-end retail shopping, specialty shops, restaurants, clubs and other entertainment.
The River District development, designed as an “urban village,” will include a town square, 400,000 SF of office space, 650 hotel rooms and 300 condominiums overlooking an 80-acre lake. Plans also call for structured parking facilities and a fountain and water feature set to a music library designed by Wet Labs of California, the company responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Steve Oden, president of Tulsa Winch, said his company did not need a TIF for his 168,000-SF plant expansion because infrastructure was in place. He said the River District TIF is not only necessary to secure the development, it’s a win-win for the city of Jenks.
“This is an affirmation of the city using a tremendous opportunity to support a project that will transform our whole community,” he said.
The unanimous vote was followed by applause from most of those in attendance.
Lynn Mitchell, president of the River District Development Group LLC, the project developers, vowed that the project would move forward with haste.
“We feel it was big of the City Council to step up and make up the difference,” he said. “We feel good about this day.”
The River District Development Group consists of the Tulsa businessmen Jerry Ledford Jr., Julius Puma and Mitchell, along with Mike Krimbill, the former president and former general counsel of Energy Transfer Partners, and Bob Burk, former chief counsel for Energy Transfer Partners.
The group has employed Development Design Group of Baltimore to assist in the design of the project.

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