Groundbreaking ceremony set for Shops at McAlester

Artist renderingThe Shops at McAlester is expected to open in late 2020 or early 2021, according to city of McAlester officials.

Things are coming together for the Shops at McAlester groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed new highway retail shopping center.

It's set from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, and is open to the public.

Plans call for the proposed shopping center to be constructed at the intersection of Fourteenth Street and U.S. Highway 69, known as the George Nigh Expressway where the highway wends through McAlester. It's designed to be on the east side of the highway, on property adjacent to the Steak 'n Shake restaurant, which is at 1102 S. George Nigh.

Those attending the Thursday groundbreaking should not have to struggle to find a parking place along the highway to attend the ceremony.

Pastor Kenny Springer of the New Beginnings Church at 1402 Tanglewood Drive says the student building at the church will be available for the event. The church is also on the east side of the highway, in close proximity to where the shopping center is planned.

The student building at New Beginnings is where opening remarks will be made prior to the groundbreaking ceremony and where a reception will be held afterwards, organizers said.

Although it is not a church event, Springer said the church offered the use of its student building and parking for the Thursday ceremony. Springer is a longtime supporter of the project.

"It will be good for the community and for morale," Springer said. "I'm hoping it will spur more growth."

Developer Burk Collins of the Burks Collins Company and Shops at McAlester told the News-Capital he has purchased property where he plans to build the new highway retail center.

Collins said businesses projected to be in the center include Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, FFO Home Furniture, Rack Room Shoes and others. McAlester Regional Health Center plans on operating an urgent care center at the site and pads to accommodate restaurants are also in the plans.

The project came about through a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, agreement involving the city of McAlester and Pittsburg County.

Collins offered to construct the project and pay the costs upfront. As part of the agreement, both the McAlester City Council and the Pittsburg County Commission agreed to let Collins collect their portion of the sales taxes collected at the cite, for either a five-year period or until he's collected $5.5 million, whichever comes first.

Collins also agreed to pay for a construction of a new traffic signal which would be placed at the Fourteenth Street and Highway 69 intersection.

McAlester Economic Development Director Kirk Ridenour is among those who have worked to bring a new highway retail center to the city.

While Ridenour did not have all the details of the ceremony available Tuesday afternoon, he did have a general outline.

"We'll have the ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking," Ridenour said of plans for the event. "After the groundbreaking, we'll transition over to the fellowship building." 

Ridenour said there's been a lot of people involved to get to this point. 

"I'm really excited to see five years worth of work come to this groundbreaking," he said. 

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

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