A Fargo, ND-based retailer is developing plans to invest approximately $132 million in a destination sporting goods store it would build at Woodland Hills Mall.
Scheels, which counts aquariums, arcade games and an indoor Ferris wheel among its attractions, plans to raze the mall’s former Sears location and build a 250,000-square-foot store that could open in by fall 2024, said Casey Stowe, senior vice president. finance and real estate for PartnerTulsa, the city’s economic development agency.
“It’s a huge investment,” Stowe said. “We believe this will not only lift the mall, but the entire retail corridor through the traffic it will bring. … It’s a regional draw. We should draw from the whole Green Country region.
The company expects to employ 450 to 500 people, 40% of which will be full-time, Stowe said. The mall’s owner, Simon Property Group, is a key partner in the project, which depends on incentives that must be approved by the Tulsa City Council, a city official said.
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City Council will consider a resolution on Wednesday declaring an intention to consider approving a project plan and creating a new sales tax funding district. The resolution will begin to create the legal framework for the city to capture a portion of the sales tax generated by the company for economic development.
“This is an amazing win for Tulsa, and I’m so excited to have Scheels, a one-of-a-kind store, come to our city,” Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said in a statement. “When you think about the jobs this will create and the people who will come from across the region to visit our city because of Scheels, it’s just an incredible testament to the teamwork that made this happen.
“I want to thank PartnerTulsa for helping Scheels find a way to expand their business in our state – and I want to thank Simon Property Group for their persistence in ensuring that everything in the old space Sears is something that would be a major win for Tulsa and for the 71st and Memorial District.
Scheels, which is employee-owned, offers retail choices in hunting, fishing, camping, golf, biking, men’s and women’s fashion, and team sports. Some of the brands it offers include Nike, Under Armour, Yeti, and Traeger. The Tulsa store would be the company’s first in Oklahoma and 34th nationally.
“I just think this is an incredible opportunity for our area,” said Councilwoman Lori Decter-Wright, who represents the district that includes the Woodland Hills Mall. “I’m thrilled they want to be in Oklahoma and they chose Tulsa for their first store.
“…It’s just going to be a big reinvigoration for this hallway. Malls and retail, in general, are in decline and certainly with COVID and everyone going online (shopping) more, that will be the next revitalization of this area.
Sears was among Woodland Hills’ flagship stores when the mall opened in 1976. Sears closed the location after filing for bankruptcy in late 2018. The site’s current occupant, Overstock Furniture & Mattress, has displayed signs of closing.
The proposed store would adjoin District 8, where Phil Lakin serves as a councilman.
“Scheels is a groundbreaking addition to Tulsa’s largest sales tax-generating hallway,” he said over the phone. “Financially, this investment will provide substantial revenue to support public safety and repair streets. Equally important is the unique experience that Scheels will bring to this region, which needs continued reinvestment so that people from across the region want to visit to shop, eat, and just have fun.