LAWTON, OK (TNN) - The new restaurant heading to Lawton is Bricktown Brewery. It’s a sportsbar that will be less than a mile away from Mike’s Sports Grill and Salas Urban Cantina, and the owners of those businesses shared their concerns about the new competition, and how the business transaction actually happened.
LEDA unanimously voted yes to decide on allowing the future business to be built on a lot they have been trying to sell for more than 5 years.
Originally, John Collett, a real estate developer was given 350,000 dollars as incentive to develop the land. When he wasn’t able to do that, Mike Brown, who owns a restaurant in OKC, made an offer to take over the incentive, and pay 40,000 dollars for ownership of the lot.
Mike Underwood, the owner of Mike’s Sports Grill said he believes Mike Brown, the new property owner, is getting a bargain of a deal for prime real estate.
“I didn’t know this kind of deal could be developed because there’s a sign that says go talk to Collett, and he didn’t say go talk to LEDA," said Underwood.
“I knew that there might be kickback, and I understand you are protective of your business. I don’t blame you. But my true belief in my heart is that it’s going to enhance your business, your opportunity to grow will be greater because of this, not less,” said new business owner Mike Brown.
Brown says he has no ill intentions, and that he just wants to provide variety to locals.
“Clustering of restaurants like that is going to help all three restaurants, and any others that may come along. I own a restaurant in OKC, I know what it’s like when a new one comes in and how fearful we were of that, but it ended up helping our business," said Brown.
Fred Fitch, LEDA's chairman says they are always searching to bring in the high paying jobs, or jobs with lots of employees but Underwood says restaurants shouldn't fall under LEDA's assistance.
“Unless we get more boots on the ground, or factory jobs, restaurants are not going to make this town that much different. All it’s going to do is divide the food business up a little bit more,” said Underwood.
While LEDA's decision did not please everyone, Fitch says he's excited the downtown revitalization at Town Center is picking up steam once again.
""That area and the way it was prior to any of the downtown revitalization going on and look at it today, it’s a tremendous improvement and we aren’t through. We want to improve that area even more," said Fred Ditch, LEDA’s Chairman.
Fitch says that he believes this restaurant opening, along with their future plans with 3 to 5 acres on the North end of the lot will open the doors to completing the downtown Lawton revitalization. There is no timetable yet for when this restaurant will begin construction.