Edmond struggles with construction progress

Tuesday, July 8th 2008, 7:04 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Okla. -- A new development in Edmond has forced the temporary closure of a key north-south artery.

Folks in Edmond know, with more development on the way, this may just be the beginning.

For a couple of years now, Edmond economic development officials have been talking about a major retail development along Interstate 35 that hasn't come out of the ground yet, but other developments have.

The dirt's been flying near the intersection of Kelly Ave. and Covell Road lately, as construction ramps up on a brand new Lowe's Home Improvement Center, in what will be called Covell Village and economic development officials said there's more to come.

"I'm sure they'll get a couple of restaurants at that location," Janet Yowell with the Edmond Economic Development Authority said. "Potentially we're always looking at grocery stores; I know a couple of grocery stores were looking at that site."

Retailers follow rooftops, which residents in the area see as both good and bad.

"I'm sad because I live just right around the corner and traffic will be bad for me," Edmond resident Lorri Williams said. "Kelly will be shut down for the next 45 days, I read in the paper, but, I think it will be good; it brings tax revenue in."

"Some of it we like," Edmond resident Becky Moore said. "The traffic's going to be a lot worse I do believe."

A projected retail boom along I-35, specifically at Covell Road and I-35 has been slowed by the sagging national economy, but officials said that has not slowed the city of Edmond from pursuing a hotel-convention center project.

"We are trying to do what we can to lure in a full-service hotel with about 50,000 square feet of conference center space, and this would be a public-private partnership," Yowell said.

The city is looking at the I-35-Covell location, as well as, the southeast corner of I-35 and 15 Street.

"We know that we'd like to have this with a development that included other things like retail, you know, some commercial amenities to go with that to make the project the most successful that it could be," Yowell said.

Development officials hope to have a deal for an I-35 hotel and convention center in the next six to nine months. They believe an outdoor mall-type development -- a so-called lifestyle center -- might then follow.

The Lowes is scheduled to be open by Thanksgiving, and the widened Kelly Avenue reopens in about 45 days.