Wednesday brought yet another twist in the Tulsa outlet mall saga, with the developer of the proposed project near Turkey Mountain seeking to delay the company’s hearing before the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.
Attorney Lou Reynolds, representing Simon Property Group, filed a letter with the Planning Commission asking that the hearing be continued from June 17 to Aug. 19.
“The applicant requests the additional time in order to explore its options with respect to this project,” Reynolds wrote.
The request comes just weeks after the city of Jenks announced Simon had decided to build the mall there rather than at 61st Street and Highway 75 in Tulsa.
Tulsa City Manager Jim Twombly took the news of the request as a good sign for Tulsa.
“If they had withdrawn it (the zoning application), then it would have been over,” Twombly said. “Maybe they are still holding out (61st Street and Highway 75) as a possible site or some other land along that corridor.”
The city of Tulsa has been in contact with Simon weekly to talk about possible sites for the mall, including locations along the Highway 75 corridor, Twombly said.
“We think that area would serve them well and serve us well,” he said.
Twombly said the city understands why Simon would explore its options in Jenks.
“Because their first site in Tulsa didn’t exactly work out the way they intended it,” he said.
Simon last year announced plans to build an outlet mall on 48 acres of private property on the corner of U.S. 75 and 61st Street adjacent to the River Parks Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area.
The only entrance to the mall would be off 61st Street.
The proposal has drawn strong criticism from some Turkey Mountain enthusiasts who are concerned the mall would encroach on trails and spoil the pristine wilderness setting.
Last month, Jenks officials announced they had reached an agreement with Simon to build the mall on land across the Creek Turnpike from the Oklahoma Aquarium.
Since then, neither Simon nor the city of Jenks has commented on the mall, leaving some to speculate that the developer has yet to make a final decision.
One alternate Tulsa site that has been discussed for the outlet mall is Bales Park, a city-owned property at 5801 S. Union Ave. The park is across U.S. 75 from the original mall site and includes four baseball diamonds.
Under the plan, Simon would purchase the 61st Street and U.S. 75 property and swap it for the park land.
The city of Jenks confirmed Wednesday that Simon has not applied for any zoning changes or building projects related to the mall project.
Simon did not respond to requests for comment by The Frontier.