Choctaw center developer files suit over finance plan

Arkansas company alleges breach of contract by city of Choctaw
BY BRIANNA BAILEY bbailey@opubco.com Published: February 2, 2013
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The developer of a new 39-acre town square to be anchored by a Walmart Supercenter moved to sue the city of Choctaw over money it claims the city owes it for construction and legal costs.

The partially city-funded shopping development has encountered several problems since Choctaw officials signed an agreement with Bentonville, Ark.-based Choctaw Town Square in 2010 to develop the site.

Choctaw has pledged water, sewer and traffic improvements worth an estimated $9.6 million for the Choctaw Town Square Project to lure new business to the city.

Choctaw Town Square claims in its lawsuit that city officials have refused to reimburse it for construction costs from a $7.5 million tax increment financing bond the city issued last year to help finance the development.

The developer filed its breach of contract lawsuit against the city of Choctaw and the Choctaw Utilities Authority in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on Friday.

The city has reimbursed Choctaw Town Square for more than $3.8 million in development costs so far, but began asking the developer to provide more detailed information on some of its invoices for the project costs in December, City Manager Roger Nelson said.

East half ‘is dirt'

While Walmart recently purchased a site at the Choctaw Town Square site for a new 150,000 square-foot store, work has progressed slower than city officials would have liked on the development, Nelson said.



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