The Norman Transcript

February 10, 2010

City passes tax rebate for Target

By Andrew Knittle and Peggy Laizure

Chris Lundy, manager of public partnerships with the Target corporation addressed city council members Monday night to discuss building a store in Moore.

The Moore Economic Development Authority voted unanimously for a sales tax rebate to Target.

Target wants to build a 135,000-square-foot retail store on SW 19th Street west of Fritts Boulevard. Target would not pay the asking price of Terry Fritts, owner of the land, and said the only way they would build in Moore is if the city would help pay the nearly $2 million difference.

Target stores average $30 million a year in sales, according to Moore City Manager Steve Eddy. He added that the Moore Wal-Mart averages more than that.

Deidre Ebrey, director of economic development for the City of Moore, said cities incentivize big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart for one simple reason.

"They serve as anchors for developments and draw traffic to the area," Ebrey said. "There's no doubt about it... developers bank on these big stores to others stores to the area."

She also said the Target will bring new dollars into the city and doesn't see the addition of another giant retail store as a bad thing for nearby businesses.

"We're not going to incentivize a business that's going to come in and cannibalize other businesses," Ebrey said. "These are new dollars coming into the community."

Ebrey said similar rebates have been used by the city to attract stores to the Shops at Moore development on the east side of Interstate 35, which includes Best Buy and JCPenny and boasts more than 350,000-square-feet in retail space. She said the deal with Target is expected to go through, although nothing is certain.

"The process is moving along quickly, with few problems," Ebrey said.

Mayor Glenn Lewis said he would like to remind residents that this is not a sales tax or ad valorem increase.

Chris Lundy, manager of public partnerships with the Target corporation told city council members at an earlier meeting that if the rebate is passed, ground would be broken in April and it should be open for business by April 2011. He also said the Moore location is one of only a few new stores that will be built in the nation in 2010.