Bricktown 'Founding Father' dies

Tuesday, November 11th 2008, 12:45 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma business community is mourning the loss of one of the visionaries of Bricktown. Jim Brewer died Tuesday morning with his family by his side.

It's hard to imagine Oklahoma City without Bricktown. But there was a time when the area looked like a ghost town. Then Jim Brewer got an idea and brought it to life.

The restaurants, the ballpark, the canal, even the haunted warehouse, are all signature attractions in Bricktown. But before you saw them, Jim Brewer envisioned them.

"You looked at the place and you thought it was a ghost town; it had no lights, it had nothing in the area, so the vision was out there and he found the people to follow him and come down here and put it in place," Chris Clifton with Brewer Entertainment said.

Brewer tried to model the area after West End in Dallas. He bought up a bunch of the abandoned buildings and turned them into thriving businesses.

"Jim took this place, I mean, he took it as it was his baby," Clifton said. "He used to always answer the phone and say it was a beautiful day in Bricktown no matter where he was or what he did."

Brewer suffered from diabetes and died Tuesday morning at age 71.

Thanks to Brewer's vision and money from the MAPS sales tax in the 90's, Bricktown is now the premier entertainment district it is today.

He's got to be extremely proud of what he accomplished down here," Jim Cowen with the Bricktown Association said. "And he saw what many others couldn't see, but more importantly he put into action what many others couldn't do."

Brewer said his only regret was he was too ill to see the Thunder play in Oklahoma City in person.

Brewer also helped to raise money for the MAPS for Kids initiative as well as founded Brewer Entertainment.

Funeral services for Brewer are pending. He leaves behind his wife Patsy and three sons.

The large American Flag located in Bricktown was lowered Tuesday to half staff in Brewer's memory.