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  1. #1

    Default Lawton - Major retail development under way

    http://newsok.com/major-retail-devel...ad_story_title

    LAWTON — Construction began this week on a much-anticipated shopping center and redevelopment project in downtown Lawton.


    The site of Lawton Town Center, a new retail development project expected to open late this year. JIM BECKEL - THE OKLAHOMAN


    Kohl's will anchor the Lawton Town Center shopping center, according to the developer's marketing package, and 30 to 50 other retailers will participate.

    Negotiations are under way with retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Shoe Carnival, Dress Barn, Famous Footwear and Petco.

    Originally, the shopping center was to open this fall, but construction delays have pushed it later in the year or early 2012, said Steve Scott, project developer with Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co. in Des Moines.

    A Main Street district is planned to attract boutiques, public art will be displayed throughout and a 176-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel with an adjacent 25,000-square-foot convention center will allow the city to host conferences and events.

    “We want to create a regional shopping destination for southwest Oklahoma,” Scott said. “Most of the country is still in the throes of the worst recession we've seen. But because of Fort Sill, and growth in the defense contractor industry in Lawton, lots of great things are happening here.”

    The city of Lawton has for years been buying up land in the initial 12-block area for the project, a public/private partnership; more than 95 percent of the site has now been acquired.

    Downtown revitalization will continue beyond the shopping center, with a new streetscape project on Second Street and a three-mile trolley or streetcar line planned to connect the Fort Sill gate to Lawton Town Center.

    City Manager Larry Mitchell said Lawton officials sought to emulate Oklahoma City's downtown redevelopment in their project.

    “It means a great deal to our community because we know without a strong downtown, our ability to attract new businesses and residents is fairly limited,” he said.

    He said that the Lawton area has been underserved by retail in recent years and continues to lose sales tax revenue to cities such as Wichita Falls, Texas.

    “We have a lot of interest in our community, a lot of retailers in downtown. It's just a matter of putting the pieces together,” he said.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    I love be proved correct. BTW - great job Lawton. When you are done you will have more retail in downtown Lawton that in downtown OKC. I hope they make it urban in design and not 15 acres of surface parking. I am also intreagued by the streetcar to Ft. Sill. With that in place a state funded rail system between Lawton/OKC/Tulsa would make a lot of sense. That would be three streetcar systems linked by a single statewide rail system. Not even California could boast of that kind of system.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Where is the 3rd streetcar system?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Quote Originally Posted by okclee View Post
    Where is the 3rd streetcar system?
    Here:

    Downtown revitalization will continue beyond the shopping center, with a new streetscape project on Second Street and a three-mile trolley or streetcar line planned to connect the Fort Sill gate to Lawton Town Center.
    OKC is well on the way, Tulsa has one in the works, and this new one in Lawton. Add one in Norman from downtown to the OU campus and the 4 largest cities in the state would all have local streetcars.

    Having gone through Basic Training, AIT, and national guard duties at Ft Sill, I am very excited about this Lawton project.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Tulsa has one in the works?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Quote Originally Posted by okclee View Post
    Tulsa has one in the works?
    I'll see if I can find a story about it. There has been some threads talking about it on OKCTalk. They are still in the initial discussion phase, but it wasn't too long ago the OKC was in the initial discussion phase.

    This is a story from 2009 and things have progressed since then, but just not as fast as things in OKC moved.

    http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog2009q3.htm

    Tulsa, Oklahoma — City transportation officials and planners are preparing a Downtown Master Plan that includes plans for a "heavy" (i.e., compliant with Federal Railroad Administration railroad specifications) diesel-powered multiple-unit (DMU) regional passenger railway and a "street trolley" (streetcar) system (i.e., a form of light rail transit, or LRT). They are in the final stages of developing the plan and hope to be far enough along to obtain some money from the federal stimulus package (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ).

    According to Jack Crowley, Urban Planning and Development Advisor for Tulsa, their new Master Plan involves three key elements:
    • Plans for development of the downtown area...
    • A plan for connecting the downtown area to the Arkansas Riverpark System...
    • Start-up of a fixed-guideway system.
    The initial core line would be 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long, starting in Tulsa's West Bank and running through downtown to the North Side area. Both termini of this route are undeveloped tracts of about 100 acres owned by the city and planned for "Urban Village Developments" (or Transit Oriented Developments). The route follows the local freight railway system and would add parallel tracks that would enhance freight capacity. A couple of alternative routes are being considered for extending the base route. The city hopes to have a plan adopted and to move forward by fall 2009. [E-mail, Jack Crowley, 3 June 2009]

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Ah. I know Lawton well. That is an awesome area of the state, and Lawton is a nice city. But I've been skeptical of this project for a long time, it's exciting though to see it finally moving forward. They were playing a no-sum retail game for the last 5 years trying to prevent a huge lifestyle center from being built on the far west side of Lawton...

    But streetcar system? Hmm, it could be cool, but I'm skeptical for many reasons. Especially the idea of using it to connect downtown to Ft. Sill.. first of all, the worst neighborhoods in Lawton are between downtown and base. Second of all, there is very little on-base that is right up against Rogers Lane (the Lawton-Ft. Sill boundary). You have to go at least a mile further until you're in the thick of Ft. Sill. So that's at least 3 miles away from downtown until you reach something meaningful.

    Furthermore, there are better destinations closer...perhaps just along Gore Blvd., or if they want to do 2-3 miles, perhaps they could connect Cameron University. That would be just as meaningful I think, and help Lawton foster more of a college district west of Sheridan.

    Kerry: But we'll see. And by the way, BA is bigger than both Lawton and Norman. Lawton is the 5th largest city in this state, and probably about to be overtaken by Edmond as well.

    Okclee: Yes Tulsa has one in the works. Here's the website for it: http://www.fastforwardplan.org/
    I'd say it's about where we were 2 years ago, granted, they don't have a looming MAPS vote as a forgone conclusion like we did. So that's 2 years behind + in need of a funding solution.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Thanks for the update Spartan. I was getting my population numbers from the 2000 census. At that time Lawton was 20,000 more people than BA and Lawton has seen a lot growth for base closures. As for the Ft. Sill streetcar. I was based at Ft Sill on several occasions and the one thing we always hated was having to pay for an expensive cab to take us into town. The base has its own bus system so if it could be tied into a station at the main gate there are thousands of soldiers and family members that would us it. Plus, TOD along the route might clean up some of the seedy place. It would surely encourage off-base housing and I could see downtown residential take-off if soldiers had an easy way to get to the base every morning.

    On edit - I see where BA edged out Lawton by less than 2,000 people in the 2010 Census. Still 12,000 behind Norman but gaining. Does BA have a traditional downtown or is it just a collection of subdivisions?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    BA does have a traditional downtown, and those numbers are also for BA corporal. There's a funny thing about Tulsa suburbs where they all have this "fence line" which is where they have the body of their city limits, and then they've annexed a thin sliver that outlines their entire "fence line" region. Within the BA fence line is a lot more than 100,000 people. I believe it's actually around 120,000, but that's not actually figured into the corporal city limits. Some Tulsa suburbs actually double in pop when you include their fence line, such as Owasso, which has yet to annex most of the "Owasso" neighborhoods.

    BA also has a few historic neighborhoods around their main street, which is actually very nice. They just built a very cool PAC in their downtown, too...so there is potential there, but it's nowhere near as well-realized as Norman or even Edmond. They were also able to get one of the state's few lifestyle centers built in the "Stonewood Hills" development, which is like a less insulting version of Lower Bricktown. I do think BA is much further than Lawton however, both downtown, and in terms of development in general. But obviously BA feeds off of a much larger economic engine (than Ft. Sill), Tulsa.

    I do not at all buy into the idea that streetcar would improve the neighborhoods between downtown and the base. Of course it depends which gate the streetcar serves, but I assume it would just be a straight line down Ft. Still Blvd. If it went down Sheridan instead, maybe it would actually improve a bad neighborhood. But it's hard to describe how bleak Ft. Sill Blvd is. It's actually a very beautiful stretch of road lined with beautiful homes north of downtown, and then Lawton Central High. Then when you go north of the Cache Rd interchange, which only happens when you're horribly lost in that city, it is SCARY.

    The OKC equivalent would be talking about doing a streetcar line from Bricktown to NE 10th and MLK, just for the sake of it being close. Yes, I'm a huge believer in the power of streetcar to improve an area and build up a city. But there are even limits on my enthusiasm for that. I don't believe streetcar can give you something for nothing simply because I don't believe in that. I believe you have to have something, however little it is, to begin with. Putting a line through that horribly bleak part of North Lawton would be a huge waste.

    I think a line out west through "Midtown Lawton" that could instead use Cameron U as an anchor, could be a great idea. Just up and down Gore Blvd, which is a stretch that has potential to break out as a trendy "inner city" corridor for Lawton.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Does anyone know where in downtown Lawton this development is going?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Here is a quick illustration of what I'm talking about...I included the location of the 2nd Street project.

    lawton.jpg

  12. #12

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    This conceptual drawing looks decent:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/RuhlDSM...35738276364962

  13. #13

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    That actually look really good.


  14. #14

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Kerry, you said in another thread about a mix of local. I believe the second phase they want to do is find a separate area or mini "district" to attract local boutiques, etc. I believe that is intended to be west of 2nd between Ave C and Gore.

    There was a guy who used to post on my forum years ago who was incredibly knowledgeable about Lawton urban development, as well as two of their city councilors. So I don't know how much has changed, etc. I've also gotten to talk to Anthony McDermid about it before they changed architects.

    By the way, that view has to be looking down Columbia. 2nd has always been 4 lanes, and I think will still be 4 lanes.. so that's interesting if it is so oriented towards side-streets. On edit I see that it says looking east, so obviously that is looking down Columbia. Very interesting.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    My whole point is that the national retailers create foot-traffic that attracts local retailers to the area, not the other way around. Franchising didn't even exist at the retail level until the 1970s so when people say 'this district' or 'that district' does great with only local stores, that is probably because it existed before 1970.

    I found this area to be just northeast of what I consider the heart of downtown Lawton, Columbia Ave is only like 2 blocks long and the portion of NE2nd does even exit in this area yet - so it was hard to find. By going E/W they can reach a railroad corridor that is adjacent to the property. I assume they would use this railroad corridor to reach Ft. Sill and maybe one day OKC/Tulsa with rail. The tracks go right into downtown OKC and it is the same track that goes to Tulsa.

    on edit - it says NW2nd. I'll have to look at a map again.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Kerry, if you remember your time at Ft. Sill, 2nd Street is the one that starts in front of the Central Mall and goes for only a mile until it merges into I-44 along the side of Elmer Thomas Park.

    They've had it completely torn up for about 2 years now. It's a huge streetscaping project. There was a popular bar on the street called Hoffman's, and a few other less-nice bars.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    Kerry, if you remember your time at Ft. Sill, 2nd Street is the one that starts in front of the Central Mall and goes for only a mile until it merges into I-44 along the side of Elmer Thomas Park.
    That was one of the problems. I was stationed at Ft Sill for 5 months and then spent every 4th weekend there for 3 years. We hardly ever went into Lawton because we had to rely on expensive taxis to take us everywhere. We just spent most of our time on base. I guarantee you that if they had a streetcar that could have picked us up at a station on/near the base we would have been using it every day we could.

    I remember we did take a trip to a waterpark in Lawton. There were a ton of Air Force personnel from Shepard AFB there, including a pretty little Lieutenant that …, but I digress.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    I'm from Lawton and both of my parents live down there and I'm excited that there will be something new to "do" down there.

    I'm just worried that this may take stores away from the mall there. A development like this reminds me exactly like the shopping centers in Norman and Midwest City with Target and even the shopping center in Moore with JC Pennys. It seems the stores that are in these types of shopping center: Famous Footwear, Rue 21, Maurices, Old Navy and GNC are already in the mall that's just 5 blocks down the road.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way


  20. #20

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Pure, ideally this will kick into high gear plans that were being talked about before the recession to do some interesting renovations to Central Mall. The downtown plans might not be finished yet...

    By the way, did they tear down that awesome old Coca Cola building at 2nd and Ferris? If so, what a shame, it could have been incorporated into this easily. I heard that they were going to.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    Spartan,

    The Coca-Cola building still stands but I am not sure for how much longer. The building is empty, Coke move out close to a year ago. The building is in real sad shape. Many of the windows have been busted and boarded up, graffiti, etc.

    The rest of the area is pretty bare. Many of the building are gone. Bianco's (sp) is still in buisness. From what I have read they will stay put until a new building is built for them to lease.

    There is still an auto repair shop operating, I am not sure what their options are. Other than that, there is only one building fronting 2nd street still standing along with a few homes 1-2 blocks into the new development.

    I haven't seen any signs of new construction yet though.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    They have started to tear down the warehouses on the Coca-Cola property this last week. I think the beautiful brick building on the corner is close behind. Still no movement on the construction front. Things have been quiet, but the hotel should have been started by now as well as the Kohl's building. This whole project stinks bad, the city needs to be more upfront with the progress.

  23. Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    I was just thinking of this project the other day. Thanks for the update.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    The Coca-Cola building was reduced to several piles of bricks a couple of days ago. By now it is likely cleared. The northern portion of the area is virtually cleared with only a few trees dotting the landscape. The middle section still features two active businesses along 2nd street and a small number of homes that appear to be lived in still. The southern section also includes a few buildings/homes. This area is set for construction, although no construction news has been presented.

  25. Default Re: Lawton - Major retail development under way

    This is awesome! Oklahoma really show the whole United States of America that we are the only state to continue growing on the retail side. Many small towns are becoming cities. And it will only get better! Heck, Oklahoma could become its own country, group counties into states, and so on...even elect our very own President of the United States of Oklahoma!

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