Cabela’s, an outdoor sporting goods company that competes with Bass Pro Shops, is seeking $3.5 million in tax rebates from Oklahoma City for a new store to be announced later this year.
The application is set to be introduced Tuesday at the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust, with full presentations by company officials set for the trust’s June 17 meeting and to the Oklahoma City Council on July 1.
Cabela’s officials did not return calls from The Oklahoman on Friday. Brent Bryant, the city’s economic development manager, said the chain has yet to select a site for its Oklahoma City store. Bryant’s report on the application forecasts the store will generate $40 million to $50 million in annual sales.
“It’s a performance-based incentive, based on 1.2 percent of their sales,” Bryant said. “And at the end of the day, they get incentivized on their performance. If they hit a home run, they get paid sooner. It expands our sales tax base and it reduces the potential of sales tax leakage to areas outside the city.”
Cabela’s has 50 stores in the United States and is in the midst of an expansion that includes opening 11 stores this year and each year through 2017. The Nebraska retailer has reported double-digit percentage increases in sales over the past several years.
Last August, the chain opened two locations on the same day in the Denver metro, drawing an estimated 5,000 shoppers to each of the 110,000-square-foot megastores. Those locations feature archery ranges and restaurants, though it is unknown whether such attractions would be included in an Oklahoma City store.
The Oklahoma City store will be smaller — between 90,000 and 98,000 square feet — and would be part of what the chain calls its “next generation” prototypes.
Cabela’s is the fourth retail incentive to be considered by Oklahoma City. Recent agreements included Outlet Shoppes of Oklahoma City and a Von Maur department store at Quail Springs. The city also built a $20 million, 103,000-square-foot store for Bass Pro Shops in Lower Bricktown in 2002 – a deal in which Bryant reports the loan for the building has been paid off and the store has exceeded forecast revenues over the past decade.
Both Cabela’s and Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops have sought, and won, taxpayer incentives from cities throughout the country over the past dozen years.
Bryant on Friday acknowledged the Cabela’s store might cannibalize the existing sales tax base, but that the city would, if the deal is approved, see a net increase in revenues. Bryant said 25 percent of the city’s general fund is funded from sales taxes, and that $100 million pays for much of the city’s essential services including police, fire protection and parks.
In his report, Bryant also suggests the store could spur development of another 50,000 square feet of adjacent retail. If the application is approved, the store would open in either late 2015 or early 2016.
The application also forecasts the store would attract between 1.25 million and 1.35 million shoppers from within a 120-mile radius. But it contains no prohibition against the chain opening other stores in the metro or elsewhere in the state. Bass Pro Shops agreed to a no-build zone in the Oklahoma City metro and then built a larger, 130,000-square-foot store in Broken Arrow a year after opening its store in Bricktown.
And at the end of the day, they get incentivized on their performance. If they hit a home run, they get paid sooner. It expands our sales tax base and it reduces the potential of sales tax leakage to areas outside the city.”
Oklahoma City economic development manager