Bricktown heads to Vegas

Published: Thursday, February 19, 2009 7:00 am

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY - Jim Cowan hopes Bricktown can hit the jackpot in Las Vegas.

Cowan, executive director of the Bricktown Association, is working with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber to put together an information brochure profiling every building in Bricktown to take to the yearly International Council of Shopping Centers expo in Las Vegas.

The event is designed to bring together retailers, industry leaders and representatives from cities and states across the country to rub elbows and make deals.

It will be Cowan's first trip to the expo, and the first time statistical information, lease rates, photos, and the condition of Bricktown buildings have been compiled in one volume. The chamber is producing the brochure.

"If X-Y-Z retailer says they are interested in the downtown area we'll be able to give them the options available," Cowan said. "What we want to be able to do is go to this national convention and say 'if you're considering Oklahoma City there's not a better place than Bricktown.'"

The chamber will be there promoting the city as a whole, but will present Bricktown as a giant shopping center, focusing on the area north of Reno Avenue.

"We will target some national retailers for that north canal area," said Alison Oshel, director of community redevelopment with the chamber.

Cowan said the information will also be used after the convention as the district tries to lure local and national interest. He said that up to this point, Bricktown landlords have handled their own leasing, which will continue, but a possible tenant will now have a plethora of information at their fingertips.

Jeff Brown owns the Miller Jackson building in Bricktown, and has a small amount of empty space. One area of his building is set for the first Oklahoma City branch of the New York-based bar chain Coyote Ugly Saloon.

Brown said the information being compiled by Cowan and the chamber for the convention will benefit all Bricktown stakeholders.

"The rising tide floats all boats," Brown said. "I'm delighted to have Mr. Cowan go and represent us there."

Kevyn Colburn, vice president for leasing at Morris Enterprises, will attend the ICSC convention for the 16th consecutive year.

Colburn said for Cowan, or anyone making the rounds at ICSC, the main advantage is planning ahead and knowing the retailers with whom one wants to talk. Networking is the way many deals get done.

"The No. 1 thing you can do is set up your appointments prior to the convention," she said. "The key is having pre-arranged meetings."

Oshel said attendance is expected to be down at the convention this year because of the economy, but that could work in Oklahoma City and Bricktown's favor.

"Oklahoma City and Bricktown have a terrific story to tell," she said. "Where other cities are going to be hurting because their local economies are in such distress, we may be able to get some nods from more national retailers."

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