Simon Group Signs on for Large Retail Project in Oklahoma City

EDMOND - Plans have been in place for some time to build a shopping center at Interstate 35 and Covell Road; however, on Thursday the developers announced that a major retail development company had signed on to the project. Michael Galiga, with Edmond-based As One Group said the Simon Property Group will work in a joint venture with the Covell I-35 Development group to build the 1.2 million-square-foot open-air retail lifestyle center. Covell I-35 includes Little Rock, Ark.-based Clary Development.

Galiga said the deal with Simon Property was completed earlier this week. Indianapolis-based Simon Property, which owns Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, is one of the country's largest developers and managers of retail properties. Galiga said the group did not go out seeking a company such as Simon to join in on theproject. Simon approached us a few months ago, he said. We didn't approach them. Of course when they called us we were flattered. We met with them and we liked them and they liked us. Plans for the project call for a retail and office complex at I-35 and Covell at a cost of more than $400 million. Galiga said the lifestyle shopping center will be on the northwest corner while the southwest corner will also have more than 500,000 square feet for big-box retail stores. An office park and medical offices are tentatively planned for the northeast corner. In November, hotel and conference center developer John Q. Hammons signed a letter of intent to build a hotel and conference center at the I-35 and Covell site. Galiga said he could not yet name department stores that may locate in the center but said the developers have received verbal commitments. He also said there is the indication that there will be a theater as part of the development. Galiga said the developers hope to begin construction on the shopping center this fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.