City not paying for marketing Lahoma Courts property

Some lots in the Lahoma Courts addition on West Garriott sit empty, while some homes still remain in the neighborhood. (Jessica Miller / Enid News & Eagle)

The city of Enid is not paying an Oklahoma City company anything, at this point, to market the Lahoma Courts property.

"Ron Ward owns Ron Ward Investments LLC, based out of Oklahoma City, Okla.," City Manager Jerald Gilbert said. "The commission agreed to give them the exclusive right to market the Lahoma Courts property for 180 days, until Nov. 1, 2017. This due diligence time will allow them the opportunity to work to find suitable tenants and work out a development agreement with the city, subject to commission approval."

This is not the first time Ward has worked in Enid.

According to an article published in The Oklahoman on July 19, 1987, Enid's Westgate Plaza — located across Garriott from Lahoma Courts — was purchased that year by Westgate Properties, which was "a partnership headed by Ron Ward of Ward Construction."

Ward Construction also built the new Facial Surgery Center in Enid.

A message left for Ward Construction officials was not immediately returned.

According to the company's website, Ron Ward began Ward Construction in 1975 and has since built and developed medical clinics, office buildings, retail and industrial buildings. In additiont to Westgate Plaza, the company has built Canadian Square in El Reno; Shops at Boomer Creek in Stillwater; Spring Creek Plaza in Edmond; and Enterprise Square Apartments in Altus.

Ward Construction does preconstruction planning, architectural work, modeling, construction and management.

Enid city officials have said the Lahoma Courts property will be marketed for retail development. 

"As a community we believe that since that is one of the highest traffic count intersections in all of Northwest Oklahoma, it's a great opportunity for us as a community to provide more shopping opportunities for local citizens and everybody in Northwest Oklahoma, and to be able to catch retail sales tax dollars for the community for decades to come," Enid Regional Development Alliance Executive Director Brent Kisling has said.

Recent efforts to market the property come more than a year after a deal fell through with another developer, Hunt Properties.

The city spent approximately $3.2 million in acquiring Lahoma Courts properties and demolishing about 20 buildings.

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Involved in news reporting for about 15 years, I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since 2014, when my family moved to Enid to be on the family farm.

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