The Norman Transcript

Local news

August 14, 2008

Businesses coming to University North Park

New restaurants, shops and stores are coming to the 280-acre retail development at University North Park, but many of those remain under wraps, said Stanton Nelson, UNP developer.

Nelson told the Norman Chamber of Commerce's aviation committee at their Tuesday luncheon that he and developer Roy Oliver have a strong desire to bring good things to Norman in the 2 million square feet of retail space planned in the UNP retail development west of Max Westheimer Airport, east of Interstate-35 and between Robinson Street and Rock Creek Road.

"(Roy) is from here. I live here," Nelson said. "We wanted to do something that would hopefully be positive. ... We (in Norman) have lost a lot of sales tax dollars to Moore and other places ... Not only is this going to keep hopefully our sales tax dollars here, but we are going to attract from the south, the west, the east and even the north. Hopefully, this will be a place that people will get in the car to come just for the variety of stores that are going to be here."

He said three upscale restaurants are committed to locate around Legacy Park, when Norman councilmembers approve revenue bonds for the $8.5 million in UNP Tax Increment Financing District funds to build it. Park land is going to be donated to the City of Norman as part of the TIF projects.

"What we see as a huge value ... first of all it's going to be a huge amenity to the city," Nelson said about Legacy Park. "But we are also going to have the ability to have two or three restaurant pads around the water feature."

One of those will be a Mahogany Prime Steakhouse from the Hal Smith Restaurant Group. Two others he said he couldn't announce yet.

"Obviously the restaurant pad users want to make sure that the park is built, so it is all contingent on the city," Nelson said. "So I really anticipate that with a vote from council hopefully in September. And hopefully they can start construction sometime in 2009."

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