It looms over the southern shoreline of Boomer Lake, silent and still, but to those who can envision the possibilities, it is filled with potential. The future of the City of Stillwater’s old power station has been a question mark since it was decommissioned in 2016 following construction of the new Stillwater Energy Center.
On Monday, the City moved a step closer to what is known in the development world as “adaptive reuse” of its former power plant.
The Stillwater City Council has authorized City Manager Norman McNickle to begin negotiating a development agreement with one of the companies that responded to its request for proposals to re-purpose the old power station.
City staff gave a presentation about possible ways to reuse the 18,761 square foot building shortly after it was shuttered in 2016.
Converting it to an entertainment complex was always a strong contender.
Special Projects Manager John McClenny told the Journal Record in 2018, “What we have to find is someone who not only has a dream and vision but someone who could make it work financially.”
California businessman Primo Facchini expressed interest in the project, according to the Journal Record, but such a massive conversion wasn’t a project anyone was fast-tracking.
A listing on the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s website doesn’t reveal the names behind Lakeview Landing LLC, the limited liability corporation that got the nod from the City Council.
Its application was filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State on August 15 using The Corporation Company, an Oklahoma City-based agent, as the only contact.
Whoever is behind Lakeview Landing, LLC, their approach impressed a committee tasked with evaluating the proposals because of the way it integrated the planned restaurant, brew pub, residential units and office spaces into Boomer Lake Park and the surrounding area with a beach, boardwalk, events and activities.
McClenny praised the proposal from architecture and engineering firm Crafton Tull for a hotel/spa and water park, but said its project wouldn’t integrate as fully into the surrounding park. Its proposal also didn’t provide some of the information requested by the City in its RFP, he said.
Re-purposing the power plant, which sits adjacent to two more city-owned lots, is a win for the City of Stillwater, City Manager Norman McNickle said. The three pieces of property appraised at $450,000 and they will be sold to the developer, which puts them back on the tax rolls. The developer would make an estimated $15 million to $18 million investment into the project.
It would have cost the City an estimated $550,000 to demolish the Boomer Lake Station, McClenny told the City Council.
McClenny said the developer is asking for incentives but the deal is still an overall benefit to the City.
The City Council later approved a resolution forming a committee to look at Tax Increment Financing for the project. Boomer Lake Station does not sit within the boundaries of the TIF district created last year to use increased property tax revenues from certain properties to fund redevelopment in Stillwater’s core.
The City has created TIFs for specific developments in the past. Most of those involved rebates of a certain percentage of the sales tax generated by new retail businesses or restaurants.
The councillors and city staff emphasized that the deal with Lakeview Landing LLC is not final. No agreement has been made or incentives approved.
“This just starts the process,” City Attorney John Dorman said.