New Coweta Supercenter Could Lead to Hundreds of Jobs

At a time when many communities resist Wal-Mart coming to town or expanding, Coweta has entered into a public-private development that will create approximately 250-300 new jobs.
The move is expected to spin off additional tax revenues to support municipal services.
Coweta City Manager Steve Whitlock said the project creates an opportunity for even more private development as the city’s Industrial Development Authority retains control of the adjoining land south of the proposed project.
“Coweta will benefit from a major retail development within the city limits, which will bring more jobs, better shopping for residents and economic development in the northern portion of the city, Whitlock told the Coweta American. “The increased property taxes alone should provide a tremendous annual increase to the local school system.”
“The construction of the Wal-Mart Supercenter has spurred much interest from other commercial entities that could eventually change the whole business complexion of the City of Coweta,” said Coweta Mayor Robert Morton.
Councilman Billy Embrey said it is unique in that the city’s Trust Authority will retain ownership of approximately 20 acres of land adjacent to the 111th Street and Highway 51 Wal-Mart development site.
“This creates an opportunity for more private development that will benefit the City of Coweta,” Embrey said.
Vice-Mayor Roy Dale echoed the thoughts of the other council members. He pointed out how important it is that the city creates the ability for the entire project to be completed at no cost to the public.
“An entirely private project that was initiated by the City of Coweta by and through the Coweta Industrial Development Authority,” Dale said.
Not only is Wal-Mart constructing a 156,000 SF Supercenter, but the company is also constructing a traffic signal at the 111th Street and Highway 51 intersection.
The signal project includes upgrading the turning lanes and assisting with appropriate environmental site work on the appropriate land parcel.
Councilman Chad Jester commented on the importance of retail development in an area that protects downtown Coweta while also attracting new shoppers to the area.
“By the development being in the 111th Street area, it is my hope to reverse a long trend of sales tax leakage to Tulsa and Broken Arrow,” Jester said.
About three years ago the Coweta Industrial Development Authority approved an option contract to purchase 42 acres and began a search for developers, Whitlock said.
“A direct contact with Wal-Mart worked for us, particularly when we offered to virtually donate the land,” he said. “In return they kindly offered to pay $10,000, which we accepted in order to cover some of the direct supportive service costs that have been incurred during the development of this historic project.”
Wal-Mart officials expect the new store to be open this fall.

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