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OU Arena Pitch Made to Norman Officials

Earlier this week, the Norman City Council considered a proposal for a development that would include a new OU arena and surrounding amenities. 

The proposal in place calls for a new arena to anchor a larger development that would take place in the north section of University North Park. The venue could host the University of Oklahoma‘s basketball programs, and anchor a surrounding development that includes entertainment areas.

As detailed at a meeting on Tuesday, the proposal from the OU Foundation calls for the establishment of two tax increment financing (TIF) districts. Time will tell whether or not the plan moves forward, but the meeting offered a glimpse of how the financial framework for the project could take shape. More from The Norman Transcript:

The foundation’s plan now calls for the creation of two tax increment finance (TIF) districts to fund $102.7 million in new project costs related to a 10,000-seat arena, a parking garage and entertainment district to be built in the northern portion of University North Park. The foundation predicts the project will attract over $400 million in private investment.

The project would not require any new taxes but would be funded by a portion of the new sales and property taxes generated by the economic activity in the new TIF districts after other specific taxes, like Norman Forward and the Public Safety Sales Tax, are accounted for.

One new wrinkle is the adjusted TIF revenue allocations the OU Foundation put forth. Instead of a constant 50-50 split of sales tax revenue between the general fund and the TIF projects, the new plan calls for an 80 percent general fund sales tax allocation until 2023 before falling to 60 percent in 2024 and finally 50 percent in 2031.

Though the foundation is pushing for a quick decision on the issue, its new plan would not establish the arena TIF district until 2020, its stated aim being to provide relief to the city’s general fund. The new TIF districts would run through 2043 and 2045 or until project costs are met.

No final decision has been made on the proposal at this time. The OU Foundation is expected to continue pitching the concept, as it is scheduled to have a planned unit development rezoning meeting with the city planning commission on June 6.

Oklahoma’s basketball programs currently play their home games at the Lloyd Noble Center. That venue originally opened in 1975.

RELATED STORIES: Study Data Backs OU Arena DevelopmentOU Interested in Move to Proposed Arena

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