Friday, September 12, 2014

Cherokees' Tulsa Plans May Add Jobs, Millions to Area Economy

Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) has partnered with commercial real estate developer Woodmont Outlets, an affiliate of The Woodmont Company, to potentially locate a new upscale retail development at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. CNB has agreed to lease property west of the casino to Woodmont Outlets, which plans to invest $80 million into premium outlet shops to be called "Cherokee Outlets." Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, above, announced the project Wednesday.

The proposed development is projected to create 1,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of jobs during the construction phase. Once complete, it is expected to generate $120 million in sales annually and attract two million additional visitors to the area per year.

To complement the proposed development, CNB has plans to create a unique entertainment and dining zone called "The District." The District would connect the upscale shops directly to Hard Rock Hotel &  Casino Tulsa, creating a unique experience.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said, "This is a very exciting project for northeast Oklahoma. When the Cherokee Nation does well, the entire region does well. These collaborative projects with private industry are what help us create more jobs, maximize our investment dollars and help us make a greater impact on the economy of our state. Our economic impact was most recently measured at $1.3 billion, and I expect that to grow as we continue to forge these types of partnerships."

The proposed CNB development of The District will include a wide variety of dining and entertainment options for all ages. Cherokee Nation Businesses is the parent company for all of the Cherokee Nation's for-profit businesses.

Shawn Slaton, Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO, said, "This proposed development shows that, as always, we remain committed to being the market leader. For many years, the Cherokees have set the standard in delivering the most unique and exciting entertainment experience. We're once again raising the bar for the entire region. Chief Baker has challenged us to create jobs and invest in the 14 counties of the Cherokee Nation. In the past two weeks, we've announce the creation of 2,000 jobs and economic development projects that will benefit the Cherokee people and everyone in northeast Oklahoma. None of this would be possible without the support of our Tribal Council and the CNB board of directors."

Cherokee Outlets are projected to offer more than 300,000 square feet of leaseable space with a focus on premium and upscale shops for about 100 retailers. With more than 30 years of experience in the highly competitive commercial real estate niche, Woodmont Outlets will aggressively seek out high-end retailers, with negotiations starting as early as next week.

Stephen Coslik, Woodmont Outlets chairman, said, "We approached CNB because of the world-class amenities of the casino and resort, proximity to key markets and the two million people that already visit Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa every year. In addition to the Tulsa metro and surrounding areas, it's an easy drive from key markets like northwest Arkansas and Joplin, MO. I'm confident we can attract the premium retailers to make this development the best in the region. No other outlet and casino resort in the United States will resemble this development, which will be a real gem to the greater Tulsa Market."

Woodmont Outlets' most recent outlet development is a joint venture that developed the St. Louis Premium Outlets in Chesterfield, Mo. Retailers there include Armani, BCBG, Max Azria, Coach, Crabtree & Evelyn, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Vera Bradley, Tommy Hilfiger and more.

While the proposed Cherokee Outlets will be located on Cherokee Nation-owned land, all retail sales will be subject to state and local sales tax.

About 70,000 cars per day pass by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, which already attracts more than two million visitors per year and boasts a 90 percent occupancy rate for overnight guests. The built-in foot traffic and constant stream of visitors make it an attractive place for Woodmont Outlets to locate its next development.

The project is expected to be complete in late 2016. For more information visit www.cherokeeoutlets.com.

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