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Kohl’s sets soft opening March 2

(Kohl's has announced that the grand opening of the new Lawton store will be March 7, not March 9 as indicated in the following story. The ribbon cutting will be at 8:45 a.m. and the grand opening at 9 a.m.)

March will be bringing more than showers and spring flowers to Lawton. It's also bringing a new retailer and a hotel/conference center.

Mayor Fred Fitch told the Lawton Economic Development Authority last week that Kohl's is planning a "soft opening" for March 2, which will mark the beginning of a slate of new businesses in the downtown redevelopment area along Northwest 2nd Street.

Fitch said the Kohl's opening will be followed by the Hilton Garden Inn hotel and convention center opening March 17, while the remaining retailers in the complex  Dick's Sporting Goods, Jo Ann Fabric and Craft Store, Petco, Ulta, Shoe Carnival and Bed, Bath and Beyond  are slated to be open by April 15.

By May 15, developers are predicting that businesses in the the north side of the "out parcels" (those closest to Northwest 2nd Street) will be open. Fitch said that those out parcels are providing 48,000 square feet of space and half of the north space is leased, with the Oklahoma City-based firm in charge of leasing predicting the remainder soon will be filled with tenants. The south portion of the complex should open 30 days later, Fitch said.

The long-awaited openings drew a broad smile from Fitch when he updated LEDA members last week, as he predicted those openings are just the beginning of better things for the downtown redevelopment complex that will bring increased retail shopping, more hotel rooms, convention and meeting space, and numerous jobs. He said Kohl's is ready to open at any time: The store is fully stocked with merchandise and the management team has begun training its staff, with its eye on a "soft" opening for March 2 and a "hard" opening on March 9. In addition, the hotel, which will offer 162 hotel rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space, announced it has booked its first major event for the convention center: the annual Starlight banquet, set for March 29.

The Lawton Constitution

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