LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A local commercial realtor weighed in on the multiple large vacant buildings across Lawton, assuring residents not to worry.
Broker and owner of Johnny Owens Commercial Properties Inc., Johnny Owens said there are companies looking at three of the vacant buildings so residents shouldn't be worried.
"It's kinda frightening to people when they see these big buildings go dark, but it won't be long before they're full," Owens said.
He said they're working on contracts for some of them, but it's a process that takes time.
"They have their own site locators, and they'll come in ahead of time and look at Lawton, and they'll look at the location for the traffic counts," he said.
Owens said vacant buildings aren't always a bad thing, as incoming businesses won't have to build to come into town.
He also explained that some buildings become vacant because the tenants don't like their current landlord. He said businesses have left older buildings in Oklahoma City, and it's happening in Lawton too.
"It's kinda the mall's situation," Owens said. "It's a shame, but it's a sign of the times. If you don't keep up with it, you're going to be left behind."
Owens said even though there are some large vacant buildings, Lawton's economy is still steady.
"Because we don't have those peaks and valleys and with Fort Sill, Goodyear and some of those other businesses we have in Lawton, we're really stable," he said.
He added that the city could also see more troops come to Fort Sill, because President Donald Trump believes in a strong military. Owens said the President's background can also help.
"Whether you like it or not, he is a good businessman," he said. "He's going to have a big influence on what our businesses are going to do also and so I feel good about that."