Claremore Daily Progress

September 6, 2013

Economic development booming in Claremore

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Claremore City Council approved the plat for Phase II of Claremore Plaza Monday, moving two economic development projects forward.

The council opened the floor to public questions regarding the upcoming development of a hotel and convention center at the site of the old bowling alley.

The public hearing served as one of the required meetings to form a third Tax Increment Financing, TIF district in the city.

The plat approval lays the groundwork for the addition of a new medical park to be located in Claremore Plaza.

Recently, the city is seeing a boom in economic development with several local employers currently expanding their facilities and also, an increase in retail development, according to Claremore City Manager Jim Thomas.

Thomas said the development of the hotel and convention center, as well as Oklahoma Plaza, is in line with the city’s effort with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to connect State Highway 20 to Country Club Road.

Two other TIF districts have been approved by the council in the past two years, but the latest project is the first to include retail development.

TIF Attorney Daniel McMahan said TIFs are used to collect new ad valorem taxes that would not be in existence without the presence of the TIF.

There would be no increased taxes to citizens. The tax income, generated from a TIF, would be gained from new private investment, said McMahan.

A portion of the ad valorem taxes generated with a new private investment would be used to pay for the TIF program.

Ad valorem taxes are more commonly known as property tax.

The city is proposing approximately $675,000 of the tax collected be used to assist the developer with the total investment of about $7 million for the hotel/conference center project.

“We’re going to be building an 80-room hotel with a separate conference center — about a 5,000-6,000 sq. ft. conference center, with our main objective being to meet the needs of the community in terms of hosting events — weddings, business meetings, reunions, holiday parties, etc.” said Pete Patel, owner/developer of the project.

The city should see an immediate return on their investment in sales tax and hotel taxes collected once the project is complete, according to city officials.