The land acquisition and closing process is now complete so dirt work has begun on a parcel of land around Interstate 40 and Kickapoo Street — the future site of a new $20 million anchored shopping district.

The land acquisition and closing process is now complete so dirt work has begun on a parcel of land around Interstate 40 and Kickapoo Street — the future site of a new $20 million anchored shopping district.

Construction is expected to begin soon on the “Shawnee Marketplace,” a project by Hunt Properties, Inc., that will bring major retailers to the city of Shawnee with stores opening in the spring of 2015. The retail development is expected to have annual sales of about $30 million when fully developed by Phase 2 and should bring 600 to 800 new jobs to this area.

Phase 1 of the project calls for 125,000 square feet of retail space with six retailers on 16 acres of the initial development area west of the Burger King and Delta Café, where some heavy equipment is already beginning to remove vegetation.

The retailers in Phase 1 should have spaces of anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 square feet each, with the main entrance for Phase 1 planned to be off Kickapoo Street.

“Erosion control is currently being installed and mass grading should commence by the end of the week,” Jeff Williams, president of Hunt Properties, Inc., said Wednesday. “We’re still working with the city of Shawnee to get our plans approved and permitted. We anticipate retailers to start opening in Spring 2015.”

Justin Erickson, city of Shawnee planner, said the review of plans and other infrastructure needs continues through the city’s internal review process.

This retail development will be the second biggest in Pottawatomie County history — second only to Shawnee Mall.

Terri Watkins, director of communications with the Commission of the Land Office, said the CLO, which owned the parcel of land where the retail center will be located in Shawnee, exchanged that land in a deal for two others owned by Hunt Properties in Oklahoma City, a deal which was approved by the CLO board and went through real estate procedures before the final closing.

Watkins, who said the CLO still owns adjacent property in Shawnee, said easements have been approved for streets in the project and they have been working closely with the city through their partnership with Hunt Properties.

“We’re excited for the city of Shawnee,” she said, adding this project will be a huge economic impact for this area. She also congratulated all those involved as well as the city staff for working so hard to make sure this project came to fruition.

Both the city of Shawnee and Pottawatomie County commissioners have inked incentive agreements to bring this development to Shawnee. Pottawatomie County commissioners have agreed to provide up to $1.25 million in economic development funds for development, while the city of Shawnee has approved a sales tax rebate agreement.

That sales tax rebate agreement states the city agrees to provide the developer, in the form of a rebate, an amount not to exceed $3.75 million in sales tax generated exclusively from the new project.

The amount of sales tax rebate will be 2 percent of taxable sales for six years, then 1.5 percent for an additional three years, for a total period not to exceed nine years up to a maximum of $3.75 million, whichever comes first.

The city of Shawnee collects three cents tax for every dollar spent while Pottawatomie County will benefit from the county’s one-cent sales tax.

While the stores for the project haven’t been officially disclosed, the development will include retailers that Shawnee residents would usually travel elsewhere to shop, such as Midwest City or Oklahoma City.

With completion of Phase 2, the development would have a total of 400,000 square feet of retail space.

An Economic Impact Analysis done by the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation to assess the impact of this development shows that the temporary impact of construction is nearly $18 million, with about $35 million of an economic impact from retail sales.

With property taxes, the annual fiscal impact for the county is $545,796, while Gordon Cooper Technology Center would benefit with more than $200,000, and the school district just under $900,000. With a portion of property tax going to the library, it also would see an impact of $86,817 annually.

Tim Burg, director of the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation, said there are many positives about the project, including the fact it will be a great job creator for this area.

Once both phases are complete, Burg said they predict the stores in the development could bring 600 to 800 news jobs to Shawnee.

In addition, the retail project will have great “magnetism,” and positively benefit other stores and business sectors in the area.

Watch for updates.