What could become the biggest jobs generator in the state's
history is planned for a 215-acre site on the east side of Tinker
Air Force Base.
Although it's far from a done-deal, officials are talking about
an aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul technology mall, just
off S. Douglas Boulevard and SE 59th Street.
This mall, which will be a public-private partnership, would
attract some of the top aviation firms, military contractors and
their subcontractors. Some work at Tinker's Oklahoma City Air
Logistics Center also could be transferred there.
Initial work on a four-phase study began Wednesday with contract
signing and a check for $100,000.
Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, not only is doing
the business case study, but also kicked in $150,000 of the $550,000
The signing and check presentation were done at a press
conference called by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce
where the mall was formally announced.
Besides the Battelle contribution, the chamber and city of
Oklahoma City combined to pay $100,000 while the state of Oklahoma
is paying $300,000 for the study.
The mall's design will be based on the study results.
"When we make our business case study, we will contact all the
potential tenants to determine what their needs are," said David
Hofstadter of Battelle. "We will not know what equipment will be
there or what the mall looks like until we have their requirements."
If all goes as planned, groundbreaking for the facility could be
within two years.
The initial study will focus on establishing a "sound business
case why somebody should move here," Hofstadter said.
Once the business case has been made, further phases will include
design and engineering along with an implementation plan.
No figures were given for how many jobs would be created by the
mall, but both Hofstadter and Richard A. Burpee, chamber president,
said there was a huge potential for economic growth.
"Forward-looking Oklahomans have initiated this idea because of
the needs at Tinker Air Force Base and the need for contractors and
subcontractors," Hofstadter said. "We are looking at a way to bring
the public and private operations together in one location at an
"Even big companies and the federal government are interested in
finding ways to do their work better in an affordable place.
"We intend to provide them with that place."
When the strategic plan is completed, it will outline what "may
be the largest economic increase in central Oklahoma," Hofstadter
Although other Battelle leaders had made an announcement of the
mall concept in February, "this is the beginning of that study,"
"We had the idea and the desire, but we didn't have the money
before," he said. "Now we have the money and this is the beginning
of the Phase I study."
Tinker and Air Force officials appear to be enthused over the
mall idea, said Burpee, who is a retired Air Force lieutenant
general and former Tinker commander.
"They need more space out there and this is a way to give it to
them," he said. …