Council OKs funds for Kmart development

October 8, 2019

Also approved: Street repairs, bonds, Tower Center donations

The City Council on Monday said “Yes” to a request from the Bartlesville Development Authority to provide incentive funds for development planned at the former Kmart building and considered several other agenda items including contracts for the Frank Phillips Boulevard road repairs and east downtown drainage projects.

Kmart building under development

The council voted 5-0 to approve the expenditure of $203,830 for development of the former Kmart building, located on U.S. Highway 75 in Bartlesville. The 90,000-square-foot building has been vacant since Kmart closed its doors in October 2017.

BDA President David Wood said the funds will allow developer Jeremy Foraker of Foraker Company of Oklahoma City to recruit business for the vacant building. Wood said the following retail establishments are planned for the development:

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet

Ollie’s is an American chain of discount retail stores, founded in 1982, with 330 locations in 23 states. “Ollie’s Bargain Outlet deals in merchandise obtained from various retailers, suppliers or manufacturers throughout the country, whether in the form of closeouts, bankruptcy sales or other similar means of buying the stock at below wholesale costs,” Wood said. He said the company uses buildings formerly occupied by other stores.

Burkes Outlet

Florida-based Beall’s Inc. is the parent company of Burkes Outlet Stores Inc., a privately held company formed in 1915. The corporation now operates more than 500 retail stores, Wood said. “Burkes customers can find brand name apparel and accessories for the entire family at up to 70 percent off other stores’ prices,” he said. “Most Burkes stores carry shoes, home furnishings, gifts, and toys.”

Tuesday Morning

An American discount, off-price retailer specializing in domestic and international, designer and name-brand closeout merchandise, Tuesday Morning has 700-plus stores across the U.S. The company is headquartered in Dallas. Tuesday Morning was pursued for location in Bartlesville with what would have been Phase 2 of the Silver Lake Village retail development on Adams Boulevard.

Also, Dollar Tree is seeking expansion/relocation of its existing U.S. Highway 75 store. Wood said the BDA is also in ongoing discussions for a fifth and final store as well, the name of which has not yet been announced.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the incentive to Foraker Company for redevelopment of the former Kmart facility in the amount of $203,830, subject to submission of 1) binding store leases for new brands specified with terms of at least five years, and 2) approved plans/permits consistent with elevations provided.

“This is what gets us five stores occupying a formerly empty center,” Wood said.

Projects: Contracts approved

The council voted unanimously to approve bid awards for two voter approved capital projects: the Frank Phillips Rehab from Keeler Avenue to Sunset Boulevard and the East Downtown Storm Sewer Improvements projects.

Frank Phillips Boulevard

A contract in the amount of $577,506 was approved for Brent Bell Construction to complete the Frank Phillips road project. The bid is $197,493 under the budgeted amount of $775,000. Leftover funds will be allocated to additional applicable paving rehabilitation work.

The project consists of furnishing all materials, labor, and expenses necessary to rehabilitate the asphalt pavement and adding striping and signage for shared, bidirectional bike lanes. All work will be done within the public right-of-way.

Downtown drainage

The East Downtown Storm Sewer Improvements project contract was awarded to Timber Wolf Excavating of Broken Arrow for $1,408,143, which is $391,856 under budget. The project was a priority project approved by voters in the seven-year half-cent sales tax election in 2013.

The project consists of increasing the capacity of a large storm sewer system that begins at 11th and Osage and travels north through downtown to the Caney River. A portion of this storm sewer system was identified for upgrade as part of the 2004 Master Drainage Study. The portion identified is located between Adams Boulevard and the Caney River, with an initial phase narrowed to the portion between Adams Boulevard and Frank Phillips Boulevard.

The current project includes replacing existing 36-inch and 4-foot by 4-foot storm sewer with 6-foot by 4-foot, 8-foot by 4-foot and 9-foot by 4-foot structures beginning at Adams Boulevard and terminating at the existing system on Osage between Fourth Street and Frank Phillips.

“The objective of the project is to increase the capacity of the system to alleviate localized flooding issues along Silas and Fifth Street between Dewey and Osage,” said Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen. “To facilitate construction of the Tower Center at Unity Square project, a portion of this work was completed by City Water Utilities staff. The section from the Community Center parking lot through Fifth Street was completed as part of that effort. The remainder of the project from Fifth Street to termination and some side drain connections at Adams Boulevard are included in this portion of the project.”

Lauritsen said $2.2 million was originally budgeted for the construction phase of the project and that $400,000 has been utilized for the work facilitated by City staff, leaving $1.8 million carried over and approved as part of the Fiscal Year 2019-20 capital budget.

Wastewater management

In other business, the council received the 2018 Annual Report for the Chickasaw Wastewater Treatment Plant, which has provided wastewater management, operation and maintenance services to the City of Bartlesville since 1986. Currently, Veolia operates the wastewater treatment plant and 20 lift stations.

According to the report:

  • 3.05 billion gallons of wastewater were treated last fiscal year (July 2018 through June 2019)
  • The daily average flow through the plant was 8.4 million gallons
  • More than 2.7 million gallons of biosolids were land applied, which is equivalent to 460 dry tons of material.

The contract with Veolia is structured to share in savings for electrical, gas and chemical use as well as electrical power savings from the fine bubble diffuser system. The electrical, gas and chemical generated a savings of $11,459 this fiscal year, and the fine bubble diffuser system generated a savings of $73,286, Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen said. The maintenance ceiling established for the fiscal year, which is for repair/replacement of equipment, structures and vehicles, overran the budget by $26,752. Thus, the net rebate for the City’s wastewater plant capital reserve fund is $57,993, Lauritsen said.

Other actions

Also during the meeting, the council took the following actions:

  • Voted to authorize consultants to take action to refinance the City’s outstanding loan through the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program. If applied, refinancing could result in a savings of approximately $170,000 per year — or $2.9 million over the course of the note. The resolution approved by the council will put the City’s financial consultant, Municipal Finance Services, in a position to approach banks to seek a lower interest rate than the current rate of 3.91. The City’s $31 million OWRB loan was initiated in 2004 and extended in 2006 to finance construction of the water treatment plant. The loan will be repaid in 2036.
  • Authorized the sale of the next traunch of General Obligation bonds approved by voters in 2018. The next traunch, or series of sales, are $2 million for parks, streets and equipment and $600,000 for storm water system improvements.
  • Approved a budget amendment in the amount of $115,000 in park funds to include donations received from Phillips 66 ($100,000), the Curd family ($5,000) and an anonymous donor ($10,000) for the Tower Center at Unity Square project.