Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) has transferred 2,000 acres of its land at the Inola River-Rail site to the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority for economic development.
The site is already home to Sofidel, a tissue manufacturing company, which purchased 240 acres in 2018 to build a $360-million facility. The 1.8-million-square-foot plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and will employ 300 people.
“We are thrilled to have come to an agreement with such a strong, incredible organization,” Peggy Simmons, PSO president and chief operating officer, said at a news conference in Inola.
“When you have an anchor tenant and someone that can speak to ‘Hey, this is a great site,’ and they are showing progress, that just speaks volumes for the potential for this region and for this area,” Simmons said. The deal encompasses about 1,960 acres at the Inola site, a portion of which is adjacent to the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which is 445 miles long and runs from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa to the Mississippi River. An additional 200 acres retained by PSO may be made available to the Port Authority for future purchase.
“This is for Oklahoma. This is for Rogers County. This is for this part of the world. It is tremendous and very, very selfless,” said Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development.
A multimodal shipping complex, Tulsa Port of Catoosa has 70 companies that employ more than 3,200 people, said Steve Dowty, chairman of the Port Authority.
“(Sofidel) picked that tract because PSO was able to provide an extremely large tract of land that had access to various forms of transportation. They could not find something like that anywhere else in the United States, other than outside of Inola,” said Dewey Bartlett, Port Authority board member.
Under terms of the PSO-Port Authority agreement, the authority will invest at least $3 million to develop rail and other infrastructure that will serve Sofidel and future tenants to enhance the long-term viability of the industrial park.
The deal also mandates that PSO will be the provider of electrical service for 99 years and that the authority and PSO jointly develop a master plan for the property and market it.
PSO has owned the Inola property for decades. In 2014, it began an 18-month site certification process and started marketing the location for high-impact economic development projects.
“Contiguous large tracts of land near metropolitan areas are hard to find nationwide,” said Port Director David Yarbrough. “That’s why Sofidel is in Oklahoma in the Tulsa metro area. This property gives this board the flexibility to go after other huge tenants that bring huge economic benefits and impact to the region.”