OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A plan to spend $18 million to bring an elaborate Bass Pro Shops store to the city's Bricktown district moved forward Tuesday when the City Council approved lease negotiations with the sporting goods company.
Ultimately, city leaders would like to expand the district with a multi-screen cinema, a video entertainment center and an office and retail building. The district, formed along a canal, already includes a baseball stadium, restaurants and retail shops.
Under the proposal approved Tuesday, the city manager would negotiate a lease with Bass Pro Shops for a 110,000-square-foot building the city would construct using bonds that would be paid off by rent from the store and an expected increase in sales tax revenue.
The City Council authorized the negotiations, 7-2, with Brent Rinehart and Jerry Foshee against.
``I've got philosophical problem,'' Foshee said. ``The city itself should not compete with any other businesses. I think we're giving an extreme advantage to one business over other businesses.''
Council member Guy Liebmann said the sporting goods store would serve as the retail foundation for an expanded entertainment district that would bring money and jobs.
``We're talking about bringing 900 jobs to Bricktown,'' he said.
Construction on the Bass Pro Shops store would begin this year and be finished next year.
The city has worked to improve its downtown area with its sales tax-funded Metropolitan Area Projects program, which has paid for a new music hall and an arena.
A new art museum has also been built.
Bass Pro Shops has a 300,000-square-foot store near the company's headquarters in Springfield, Mo., that is one of that state's top tourist attractions.