Popeye’s Chicken planned for Sooner Motel site

The Bartlesville City Council on Monday approved the appropriation of up to $65,000 from the Economic Fund for the demolition of the former Sooner Motel, located at 1300 S.E. Washington Blvd. The demolition is necessary to help facilitate the construction of a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant at that location.

Bartlesville Development Authority President David Wood told the council Monday that the BDA was contacted about the matter after negotiations between the broker and the company had all but fallen through.

“The BDA got involved when the broker called and said that negotiations had broken down, that the contract had been rejected and the parties were walking away from the table,” Wood said. “My suggestion to them was to go back and get a contract, and (see) if they could get a willing buyer and a willing seller together contingent upon the BDA demolishing the site.”

Wood said the demolition is expected to cost $54,500 “unless they run into asbestos or some other unusual circumstance.” To account for possible additional costs, the council was asked to approve up to $65,000 for the demolition.

However, the BDA will only reimburse for the actual cost of the demolition.

“And that will be upon Certificate of Occupancy for Popeye’s Chicken,” he said. “So there’s no chance that we would pay to do a demolition on a deal that does not happen.”

Wood said a policy approved by the council in 2013 for “targeted brands” came after an in-depth study was done to determine why locally employed people were choosing to reside elsewhere. He said the reasons “really came down to restaurants, retail, entertainment.”

“So we went one step further and (asked), specifically, what restaurants are we talking about? Those that were listed, or their equivalents, became the ‘targeted brands,'” he said.

Wood said Popeye’s Chicken is a targeted brand, and that the restaurant is expected to generate upwards of half a million dollars in combined property and sales tax over a 10-year period.

“Over ten years we anticipate (the restaurant will generate) $250,000 of net new sales tax and, for our partners — the schools and the county, $220,000 in net new property tax,” he said.

A closing date for the sale of the property has been set for Dec. 31.