Edmond leaders hope project will spur development

EDMOND — City officials are kicking their spurs to launch the Edmond Rail Spur District as developer Chip Fudge has released plans for the old Edmond Ice Co. and area, along with the city looking to commit up to $700,000 in improvements.

Now the building that sat vacant for decades will be given new life with plans for the five buildings in the area to have at least three restaurants with the possibility of either another restaurant or even a brewery.

“This is the most blighted part of downtown, and it has been kind of interesting on all of the interest we are seeing west of the railroad tracks,” said Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director.

In total, there will be 15,000 square feet of space on the 1.74-acre property. Total private investment in the project is expected to be about $4 million.

While none of the tenants have been confirmed, R&J Lounge and Supper Club are looking to possibly take over the 4,200-square-foot creamer at 101 W Second Street.

While costs for redoing the buildings will run more than $300 a square foot, Fudge said that without the city’s help, the project would not have been able to move forward.

The city’s commitment of up to $700,000 will put in 82 parking spaces, with most of them along Second Street. The city council still must give a final approval at its meeting on Monday.

When the project is completed, the city will be in charge of maintaining the public parking lots, which will accommodate the developments Fudge hopes to accomplish.

For work to begin on the old Edmond Ice Co. creamery and stables, Fudge was required to get approval by the National Park Service, since the two are on the historic preservation list.

“I like to save old buildings,” Fudge said.

However, three of the buildings are not on the historic list and will be refurbished. The brewery could be located in old JR’s Transmission Shop at 129 W 2nd St.

Plans to begin construction will happen as soon as architects from Allford Hall Monaghan Morris of London can put together final drawings, which could be as early as mid-2019, developer Brandon Lodge said.

Several of the restaurants and the event center could include outdoor space and a secluded garden, which both developers hope will bring people out.

“We want to encourage people to get outside with their families and be outdoors as much as possible,” Lodge said.

Plans for the area also include transforming the stables into a small event center that can accommodate up to 50 people.

Other new developments for the area west of the railroad tracks are under discussion by many developers, with the possibility of higher density living.

However, a complete study on drainage along with a parking study is something that Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said will need to be completed before the area develops.

“There is a lot of restaurant interest in the area,” he said.

Other projects underway include the mixed-use development at Park 17 and future construction on the Edmond Railyard.

“These are interesting projects and I do not think this project is going to work unless we give it some public investment,” Yowell said.

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