A sales forecast provided as part of Tuesday's presentation predicted sales at the Von Maur will more than double revenues at the Sears store, going from $20.9 million to $45.9 million a year. The anticipated sales tax increase to the city is $499,000 a year.
Adams explained that mall owners traditionally offer incentives for anchor stores, often providing them with free rent in exchange for creating a destination that draws shoppers to ancillary smaller stores that are then charged higher-than-normal rent.
Cathy O'Connor, president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, alluded to troubled Crossroads Mall as an example of what happens when anchor stores end up vacant for extended periods.
Crossroads Mall reported $160 million in annual sales when it lost its first anchor, Montgomery Ward, in 2001. The remaining anchors all left over the next few years, leaving just a couple dozen smaller shops left before Crossroads sold to local investors in 2011.
O'Connor said the rebates, if approved, would go to General Growth Properties to help it offset costs of recruiting and accommodating Von Maur at Quail Springs.
“It's a difficult thing to do these days,” O'Connor said. “There aren't a lot of anchors out there. We've seen what can happen when you begin to lose anchors.”
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The wing, if that anchor goes vacant for an extended period of time, can die. So it's very important that we bring someone in quickly to replace Sears. And that replacement is Von Maur.”
A senior director with General Growth