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
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
Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, not
only is doing the business case study, but also kicked in $150,000
of the $550,000 study cost.
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
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.
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.
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 affordable way.
big companies and the federal government are interested in finding
ways to do their work better in an affordable place.
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 said.
Battelle leaders had made an announcement of the mall concept in
February, "this is the beginning of that study," Burpee said.
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