The Norman Transcript

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December 11, 2013

Norman City Council votes 8-1 for job development measure in North Park TIF district

(Continued)

NORMAN —

It will take six to nine months to get the infrastructure in to have pad-ready sites to market to interested businesses and industries.

“This is a really big project,” NEDC Executive Director Don Wood said.

The EDA grant and the business park’s first sale will offset the investment cost of the infrastructure.

One local company is looking to expand and move to the new industrial park. That business has looked at various sites, including Moore and Oklahoma City, Wood said.

“They have great plans for their company and the growth potential,” Wood said. “This company has 30 employees. They are keeping those, but they are just getting credit for the new jobs.”

The company will get a cost break on the land as an incentive for bringing new jobs to Norman. Those jobs will pay $50,000 or more per year, Wood said.

“It’s a health care-related industry and should generate five additional jobs per year,” he said. “That’s part of the test; they have to create at least 35 percent more jobs. This project is here to create jobs.”

There are penalties if the business does not meet its end of the bargain. Any investment risk is on the part of NEDC and would not fall on the city.

In other city business, the council unanimously approved zoning changes to allow the redevelopment of the Sooner Mobile Home Park into a multi-family residential area to include two restaurant sites and a grocery store, likely to be a Neighborhood Walmart.

Attorney Hal Ezzell representing the applicant said all multi-family projects do not serve the same demographic, and projects of this magnitude must go through an extensive vetting process to gain the lender support needed.

Ezzell said the grocery store is expected to generate $1.5 million in sales tax revenue for the city.

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