New businesses brought to Lawton community

Shopping spree: A local shopper walks outside the local businesses on 82nd street. The grand opening of the Lawton Marketplace took place on July 28.

Shopping spree: A local shopper walks outside the local businesses on 82nd street. The grand opening of the Lawton Marketplace took place on July 28.

Kaylee Jones

Assistant Managing Editor

The prayers of Lawton shopaholics have been answered.

The grand opening of the Lawton Marketplace took place July 28, with the doors of major retailers like Target and Academy officially opening to the public. Kim Garner, a senior Communication major at Cameron University, is one of such self-professed shopaholics.

“I think [the Marketplace] is a wonderful addition to the Lawton community,” Garner said. “I’m just happy we have it here, and I don’t have to drive to Oklahoma City or Wichita Falls or Dallas anymore. It’s more variety.”

The Lawton Marketplace currently contains a variety of new stores: Kirkland’s, Dress Barn, Famous Footwear, Chuck E. Cheese, Lane Bryant and Pet Smart. The most recent opening, TJ Maxx held it’s grand opening Aug. 25.

The project was commissioned by Hunt Properties Inc. – a privately held real estate development, leasing and management firm based out of Dallas. The company specializes in “regional and neighborhood retail centers built around strong demographics and anchored by national tenants such as Target, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and Belk.”

Hunt Properties is also involved in six other projects across Oklahoma, including in Enid, Muskogee and Shawnee.

The Lawton Marketplace has been estimated to cost around $45 million to develop.

Barry Albrecht, President of the Lawton-Ft. Sill Economic Development Corporation, said the Marketplace has been in the works for two and a half years.

According to the Lawton Chamber of Commerce’s website, the Lawton-Ft. Sill Economic Development Team is comprised of “community professionals coming together to collectively achieve common goals.” One of these goals, according to Albrecht, is to grow Lawton responsibly.

Since the grand opening, Albrecht said: “Traffic counts are up. We’re seeing more and more license plates from as far out as Texas. We know that our vision for Lawton is to become the regional employment center for Southwest Oklahoma, and the development on 82nd street is key to ensuring that happens.”

Garner, who expressed a similar opinion, said, “I don’t think people are going to take their money away now, since they see that Lawton has more for us in our community.”

The current stores are only the first of three phases of the project. An online PDF of the site plan reveals that future prospects include Panda Express, McDonald’s, City National Bank and Mattress Firm. Although what is coming next is still up for speculation, Lawton residents are already casting their votes for what stores should come next.

“Best Buy,” said Zach Radd, a Junior International Language Studies and Linguistics major at CU.

Confessing that he still has not been out to visit the Marketplace, he expressed his hope that the recent development will attract other national companies to Lawton.

“It would be really sweet if we could get a Best Buy,” Radd said. “There’s nowhere to get electronics right now.”

The Marketplace is estimated to be the largest project of its kind in 35 years for Lawton, and with each new opening, it appears that Lawton has acquired a worthy target.

Your move, Best Buy.

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