ENID, Okla. — The billboard at Cleveland and Garriott was taken down Thursday afternoon, marking the start of more demolition to come that will clear way for development of Lahoma Courts.

A Jiffy Trip is planned to go up in the vicinity of the billboard, which is standing where the fuel canopy likely will be located, according to members of Anchored Capital 3 Investments, the developer in charge of Lahoma Courts project.

In addition to a Jiffy Trip, a Colton's Steak House also has been tapped to move in. City manager Jerald Gilbert said the city is working on finalizing an agreement with Apex Cinema for a movie theater on a 7.4-acre tract. He did not say how near to closing they might be, but if an agreement is reached it will be taken before the city commission for approval.

City leaders and members of Anchored Capital met on site Thursday morning to discuss the future of the 48 properties and hurdles that need to be cleared.

"It's a really complex project when you're talking about an existing neighborhood that's been here for decades, and you have underground utilities, above ground utilities ... you have people that are ready to get in here and start construction soon, but there's a lot of prep work," said Alex Williams of Anchored Capital 3.

Anchored Capital purchased all of the property from the city Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Phase one is demolition, he said, and phase two is installation of new utilities, like water and sewer lines.

"This will feed not only our properties, but it will feed into the movie theater eventually as well."

Asbestos was discovered in many of the properties scheduled for demolition, which somewhat complicates the process. They can't simply bulldoze them.

Anchored Capital is working on getting necessary permits from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Williams said.

The demolition process is expected to be fully underway by the end of July, he said, and road closures in the area will go into effect some time after July 4.

"I'm really pleased. It's been a long time coming," said Enid Mayor George Pankonin, adding that the developers have a history of quick turn around when it comes to construction.

A new electronic billboard will be erected near the intersection, according to the developer, and likely will be the first piece of any new construction completed at the site.

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Willetts is education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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