According to data in a new study from the OU Foundation, a new OU arena and surrounding development would provide a major financial boost to tax revenues.
The proposal in place calls for a new arena that will be constructed as part of a larger development. The venue could host the University of Oklahoma‘s basketball programs, and anchor a surrounding development that includes entertainment areas. This development, which would take place in the north section of University North Park in Norman, would be backed in part by a tax increment finance (TIF) district.
The findings of the recent study put a positive forecast on the development. According to its results, 10 years after full buildout, the development would generate approximately $11 million in sales tax and $10 million in property tax revenue annually. At its completion, the development would include the 10,000-seat OU arena, plus an entertainment district, hotel, expo center, offices, park areas, residential units, and more.
Though the results of the study provide a positive projection for the proposal, the plan has some hurdles to clear, including the consideration of the Norman City Council. More from The Norman Transcript:
While the city council weighs the possibility of ending the original UNP TIF early to provide relief to the beleaguered general fund, it is unclear whether it would be open to jumping back into another tax increment finance district.
Some, like Mayor Lynne Miller and [Ward 3 council member Robert] Castleberry, have expressed support for the idea while others, like council members-elect Alex Scott and Joe Carter, have expressed their respective doubt and disapproval.
Carter and Scott will take office July 3, but OU Foundation attorney Sean Rieger said he believes [University of Oklahoma business professor Robert] Dauffenbach’s report speaks for itself and should be enough to compel any council, present and future, to take the proposal under serious consideration.
Norman Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Scott Martin said the chamber has thrown its support behind the proposal and is looking forward to the next step in the process. The OU Foundation’s proposal is slated to go before the city planning commission May 10.
Oklahoma’s basketball programs currently play their home games at the Lloyd Noble Center. That venue originally opened in 1975.
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