Oklahoma State Senator Josh Brecheen and Commissioners of Land (CLO) Secretary Dr. Harry Birdwell held a public meeting Thurday afternoon to discuss the ongoing Pointe Vista Development project.
The meeting was held at 1:30 p.m. at the Kingston Multipurpose Facility. The meeting was originally set for July but had been pushed until September in order to provide more information to the public.
Eight years ago the state sold approximately 750 acres to a private development firm with the agreement that they must build a resort equal to or greater in value than the park that was already in place.
Birdwell said that both he and Governor Mary Fallin have been reminding the developers of their contractual obligations.
Fallin has also been giving the developers ideas on where to find financial assistance for the project, according to Birdwell.
Birdwell said he believes the largest setback in the project was caused by the economic downturn at the time the project began.
He said that in 2008, lenders were not willing to lend to resort developers. He also gave examples of others who had similar issues at that time.
Birdwell said he feels there has been progress in the market over the last six months, and that since the developers have invested more than $40 million, he believes they will complete this project as planned.
Birdwell said that the CLO wants to not only enforce the contract but help the developers succeed.
“All of us are better off if they succeed” said Birdwell.
While Birdwell said that the developers realize project is behind schedule, as of today they are in accordance with the contract.
The contract stipulates that Pointe Vista Development had to begin the project within two years of the closing of the land. The developers began the project when the lodge was torn down.
The contract also stipulates that the hotel promised has to be substantially complete by May 2014. To be substantially complete means the hotel has to be able to serve the public.
While developers were not able to begin work on the hotel 18 months ago as planned, Birdwell said they do have the resources and credit to get the project complete on time.
Because the developers are still in accordance with the contract, there have been no penalties brought against them.
Birdwell said that if the plans are not complete on time “there are specific remedies within the contract.”
The main investors of the project remain Mark Fischer and his son Scott Fischer, as well as power company executive Aubrey McClendon.
Although rumors had arisen that McClendon wanted out, Birdwell insisted that there was no information saying he was bowing out at this point.
Another update meeting is being planned for after the winter months at which time Brecheen and Birdwell hope to have more information on the progress being made on the project.