Outdoor wildlife retailer Cabela’s confirmed Wednesday it will open a store in Oklahoma City in the new Chisholm Creek shopping center being developed at the Kilpatrick Turnpike and Western Avenue.
The store, at 80,000 square feet, is smaller than the 90,000 to 98,000 square feet indicated in an application to the city for a $3.5 million incentives package yet to be approved by the Oklahoma City Council. The agreement is based on 1.2 percent performance of the store’s sales.
Construction on Cabela’s first Oklahoma location is scheduled to begin later this year and the company anticipates a fall 2015 opening.
“Cabela’s couldn’t be more excited to announce our first Oklahoma location,” Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said. “Customers across Oklahoma have been asking us to bring a Cabela’s store to the state for years and we look forward to bringing them the extraordinary Cabela’s experience.”
The store will employ about 180 full-time and part-time employees, with most coming from Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. It will be built in Cabela’s next-generation layout, designed to surround customers in an outdoorlike experience with a large mountain replica and museum-quality wildlife displays.
In addition to thousands of quality outdoor products, the store will include an indoor archery range and archery tech room, deli, fudge shop, gun library and “Bargain Cave.” The store also will include a full-service boat shop and a comprehensive selection of wildlife and land management products, including tractors, attachments and implements.
Cabela’s has 50 stores in the United States and is in the midst of an expansion that includes opening 14 stores this year and 13 to 15 stores each year “for the next few years.” 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.
A spokesman for the chain Wednesday declined to comment on whether the store would be built only if the incentives package is approved by the city. The city council will be asked Tuesday to allow city staff to negotiate an incentives agreement. A presentation on the project and vote on the incentives is set for the June 17 meeting of the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust with a city council vote scheduled for July 1.
A report by Brent Bryant, the city’s economic development manager, forecasts the store will generate $40 million to $50 million in annual sales. Bryant said that while the store is 10,000 to 18,000 square feet smaller than previously expected, he does not expect that to change the store to fall short of the sales projections.
“If that becomes the case, they may not be able to recoup the incentive we’ve offered them,” Bryant said. “It’s very stringent. It’s 1.2 percent of sales. And if sales are at $30 million, it will be very tight for them to get the $3.5 million over the 10-year-period. They would barely get there. And their goal is to get there in six to seven years.”
“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 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 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.
More stores planned?
Nathan Borowski, spokesman for Cabela’s, declined to comment on news reports that The Walk at Tulsa Hills, a shopping center being developed in southwest Tulsa, also will be anchored by the chain. Tulsa is about 100 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, within the 120-mile radius cited in Bryant’s forecast.
Borowski also could not rules out the chain could someday open a second store in the Oklahoma City metro.
“It’s not something we’ve done in the past, but it is something we are exploring,” Borowski said.
Cabela’s is the second retail tenant announced for the Chisholm Creek shopping center being developed on the southwest corner of Western Avenue and the Kilpatrick Turnpike.
The shopping center also includes a St. Anthony Healthplex under construction.
Bryant said he did not know if the developer was providing any additional subsidies to Cabela’s, and a representative of the Chisholm Creek developer declined to answer whether the city would be the only party incentivizing the retailer.
Whitney Rainbolt, Chisholm Creek marketing director, issued a press release calling the shopping center Oklahoma City’s “first mixed-use development.”
The development is being built along a stretch of Memorial Road that is home to Quail Springs Mall and several big box retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Best Buy.
“Together with Top Golf, we anticipate these impressive national retailers will generate three million visitors annually,” Rainbolt said. “This announcement is a testament to the attractive, business-friendly environment in Oklahoma City.”