As work begins to demolish cabins at Lake Texoma, state officials and Pointe Vista Development representatives continue to focus on keeping the project on schedule.
Last week, Secretary Harry W. Birdwell of the Commissioners of Land Office said all efforts are being made to keep the project on track to meet commitments in the contract between Pointe Vista and the state. In a conference call last week, Birdwell said meetings between the state and Pointe Vista are ongoing.
“I will assure you that within the last week, we have met with the developers and are pushing them and are advising them that the fuse is shortening by the day, and the governor is doing the same thing,” Birdwell said.
Last week, in a conference call with The Madill Record arranged by Sen. Josh Brecheen, Birdwell and CLO Assistant Secretary Keith Kuhlman discussed the arrangement between the CLO and Point Vista. Both made it clear that they are not happy with the pace of the project to date.
Pointe Vista Development has a contract with the state, administered by the Commissioners of Land Office, to build a resort hotel with conference center and other amenities on 750 acres purchased by PVD from the state in 2008. Additionally, the company is required to construct upscale residential units including homes and condominiums, and must also build restaurants, another golf course, a water park, a nature center, zip lines and other attractions in a project estimated to cost as much as $750 million.
Pointe Vista has assumed operations of Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course and made numerous improvements, and also runs Catfish Bay Marina. The company has demolished the lodge, and is currently working to demolish the cabins. That project should be complete by the middle of August, according to Ryan Chapman, PVD operations manager.
Pointe Vista has not, however, built anything new yet. That’s a point of concern for CLO officials.
The terms of the contract require the hotel/conference center to be “substantially complete” by May 2014, and the entire project is required to be complete by 2016.
Complicating matters is an ongoing environmental study to determine whether the federal government will allow PVD to purchase another 1,000 acres of state park land for inclusion in the development. The Environmental Impact Statement was last slated for completion in December 2013, but is reportedly not moving forward at present.
Asked about whether the CLO would be willing to consider granting Pointe Vista Development an extension if the environmental causes a delay, Birdwell and Kuhlman said they see it as unlikely.
Kuhlman acknowledged the contract does provide for the possibility of an extension to be granted by the state. He said CLO officials would consider it if it was deemed to be in the best interest of the project. He doesn’t currently see the delays in the EIS process, however, as a likely reason for an extension.
“We’re just looking for them to uphold their contract with us,” Kuhlman said. “We’re not worried about the additional thousand acres.”
Birdwell said circumstances, including project progress, might also be a factor in determining whether to give Pointe Vista more time.
“One of the things we’re concerned about is action,” Birdwell said. “… If you have somebody and they have financing in hand and they’ve started construction, and they say, ‘Well, give us an extension,’ we’d feel better about that than if they were sitting on their hands doing nothing, right? That would certainly be something we would consider, if they weren’t doing anything.”
(Editor’s Note: Pointe Vista Chief Operations Officer Scott Fischer was not available for comment at the time of this story.)