downtown Edmond brewery
Downtown Edmond business owners and Edmond Farmer's Market vendors attend the Edmond City Council meeting on Monday, April 8, 2024. (Joe Tomlinson)

The Edmond City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to approve a restated agreement with Lap 7 Development to construct a brewery at downtown’s Festival Market Place, despite grievances aired during public comment about the city’s request for qualification process.

Mayor Darrell Davis and Ward 2 Councilman Barry Moore voted against the project, while Ward 1 Councilman Tom Robins, Ward 3 Councilwoman Christin Mugg and Ward 4 Councilwoman Stacie Peterson voted in favor.

Separately, the council unanimously approved the purchase of four additional automatic license plate readers from Flock Safety for use by the Edmond Police Department — boosting EPD’s total ALPRs across the city from 10 to 14.

Davis: ‘I’m not comfortable right now’

Drawing most of Monday night’s discussion, Edmond’s restated development agreement with developer Brandon Lodge details a two-story, 6,000 square-foot building with a brewery on the first floor, although Lodge clarified that the building will be about 8,000 square feet. The newly proposed second floor will feature an “entertainment venue” with a golf simulator, he said.

“The first version, the single-story version and single-tenant version of this project — it got derailed like a lot of projects have lately by interest rates and rising construction costs,” Lodge said. “The only solution that I could come up with was to go vertical and double the area of lease for square footage without necessarily doubling the cost of the project.”

On May 22, the Edmond City Council approved a 25-year lease for Lodge’s Lap 7 Development to construct a 4,200-square-foot taproom and brewery for Prairie Artisan Ales on the city-owned site of a storage building in Festival Market Place, which hosts the outdoor Edmond Farmer’s Market from April through October.


GrantlandAs Planned downtown Edmond brewery faces delays, questions on city’s RFQ process by Joe Tomlinson

Lodge said rising construction costs prevented him from beginning construction on the project by its mandated Jan. 1 deadline. The City of Edmond sent Lap 7 Development a notice of default following the delay. City staff and Lodge then worked together to find a revised agreement.

The new lease provides that construction will begin no earlier than Nov. 11 without approval from Edmond city manager Scot Rigby and no later than Dec. 15, so that construction would not interfere with farmer’s market operations. Construction must be completed no later than July 31, 2025, the agreement states. If performance outcomes are not met, there are no deadline extensions within the agreement.

After council members approved the agreement, Rigby said the city will send Lodge an invoice for rent Tuesday. Like the original agreement, Lap 7 Development will pay the city $12,750 in annual rent for the first five years. The rent amount will increase by 10 percent each subsequent five-year period.

While the Edmond Farmer’s Market brings substantial foot traffic on Saturdays throughout its six-month season, some council members believe Prairie Artisan Ales will activate that parcel of land year round and bring in more sales tax revenue.

“To me, it isn’t black and white, it isn’t wrong or right, it’s what we’re doing and creating, and I like what we’re seeing and creating,” Robins said. “And I definitely think we can create something in Ward 1 downtown that both enhances over time our farmer’s market but then also creates other opportunities and flows effectively.”

Mugg said she believes the project will promote more walkability in downtown.

“It’s going to be incredibly beautiful and enhance the downtown area. I think we get more people coming there and more people go to the downtown businesses,” Mugg said. “I know sometimes they get concerned about parking, but I really think the way this is going, people are walking more.”

However, Davis said he voted against the proposal owing to uncertainty about how the brewery would impact the public market.

“When I did cast my ‘Yes’ vote (on the original project), it was because there was guarantees that it was going to be no impact to the farmer’s market,” Davis said. “I’m not comfortable right now thinking this is not going to affect that.”

Moore said he called Lodge on Saturday to inform him that he would be voting against his project.

“I just want you to know, I appreciate your efforts on what you’re trying to do. I don’t appreciate the two-story component. It’s not questioning your vision for downtown Edmond or your projects,” Moore said. “I don’t believe we should have amended the contract. I thought we should have started over and started this process anew.”

Lodge said he believes his project will ultimately benefit the farmer’s market.

“As an Edmond resident, I love the farmer’s market. I don’t want this project to negatively impact it in any way, shape or form,” Lodge said. “I think this project won’t negatively impact it. I think it will positively impact it.”

According to the lease agreement, the initial contract term began Nov. 1, 2023 and ends April 30, 2049. After the initial 25-year term, the City and Lap 7 Development can exercise up to five subsequent five-year options through mutual agreement.

Bob Weiss: ‘Our process was flawed’

Downtown Edmond brewery
A rendering shows the original single-story concept for the Prairie Artisan Ales brewery and taproom at Festival Market Place. (Screenshot)

After the original project failed to commence construction by the contracted date, downtown business owners expressed concern about the request for qualifications process the city undertook to award Lodge’s company the opportunity. After NonDoc published a story in February regarding downtown business owners’ worries with the RFQ process, Lodge made a lengthy Substack post further explaining his side of the story.

During public comment Monday, multiple speakers echoed those concerns about the city’s selection process. Lydia Lee, an attorney, said she believed emails obtained through the Open Records Act displayed city staff’s favoritism for Lodge’s project and procedural issues with the City’s RFQ process.

“The citizens of this community deserve transparency. We have a process that is deeply flawed. We have a process that quite frankly smacks of preferential treatment and unfair bid. City staff should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. And of all the emails, meetings, assumptions and less than impartial review committee leads me to one conclusion — this was not a fair bidding process,” Lee said. “The lack of sunshine that has been shared on these determinations should give all of us pause.”

Bob Weiss, owner of Othello’s and Around The Corner — who joined Sean O’Grady in submitting the other response to the city’s RFQ — said “everyone is right” in regards to their support or opposition for the project.

“I don’t know [Brandon Lodge], I met him for the first time tonight — or I saw him speak so I know who he is — but I know what he’s done for downtown Edmond,” Weiss said. “Our process was flawed. You heard it, and it was 100 percent correct (…) but this man has a good idea, and he’s willing to invest his money and time into this city and to downtown Edmond.”

Lodge said discussion of the city’s selection process for his project has hurt his image.

“There’s been articles written on it. It’s made me look bad. I don’t like that. Everything I did was the by the book, above board,” Lodge said. “I went through the process exactly how I was told to go through it, and now I’m here trying to make this project work.”

Janet Yowell, the executive director of the Edmond Economic Development Authority and a member of the RFQ selection committee, reiterated her stance that nothing about the project was pre-determined.

“I advertised it here locally. We advertised it. I advertised it to the Commercial Real Estate Council of Metro Oklahoma City. I advertised it to the Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma. It was widely spread throughout the metro area,” Yowell said. “I think this is a good project. I stand by the process that we went through to get us here.”

Robert Black, the vice president of the Downtown Edmond Business Association and co-owner of Cafe Evoke and Twisted Tree Baking Company, among other businesses, said his grievances lie with the city’s process, not Lodge.

“It was broadly considered that this was a done deal (ahead of the vote), and so someone like me who actively builds and creates new businesses shouldn’t bother submitting to the RFQ,” Black said. “That did make it feel disingenuous. Why do we have an RFQ process, why do we have an RFP process if it is predetermined?”

Black closed his comments by urging city staff to rethink their selection process for future projects.

“For anything that might feel like this is something that’s impugned [Lodge] in some way — I hate that, because he’s a great guy,” Black said. “I want to challenge the city to think about how these processes go forward in the future regardless of what happens tonight at the vote and to think about how the RFQ and RFP process can go better next time, because this one didn’t go good.”

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Council approves purchase of four Flock Safety ALPRs

Also Monday night, the Edmond City Council approved the purchase of four additional automatic license plate readers from Flock Safety, which carried a $46,450 cost. The Edmond Police Department first contracted with Flock Safety in March 2023 for the installation of 10 ALPRs at a $31,000 cost, but the company’s camera system has been broadly debated around the country owing to issues with privacy and data retention.

License tags captured by Flock Safety’s ALPRs are compared with federal crime databases such as the National Crime Information Center or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. If recorded images are determined to be evidentiary, they can be retained throughout the related adjudication process. Recorded images unrelated to any crime are retained for 30 days before deletion.

Edmond Police Chief J.D. Younger noted that these ALPRs are not live and are used as a reactive tool to investigate crimes.

“Even if you wanted to monitor them live, that’s not the way that technology is designed to work,” Younger told members of the council. “It’s really intended to be a retroactive or a look-back investigative tool based on the tag that’s captured or possibly the visual description.”


GrantlandAs Edmond surveillance: License plate readers, alleged EPS camera access draw privacy concerns by Joe Tomlinson

Numerous law enforcement agencies across the state contract with Flock Safety for their services, including the Oklahoma City Police Department. While the Tulsa Police Department has released some locations of its ALPRs to the public, the City of Edmond denied a records request seeking the location of EPD’s existing 10 cameras. Now, four more cameras will be brought online.

Law enforcement agencies can allow other law enforcement agencies across the country to access their cameras if both utilize Flock Safety. However, the City of Edmond also denied a request asking what other agencies EPD allows to access its cameras.

On Monday night, the council also approved the purchase of two drones from Granite Technologies, LLC, to support police operations outdoors. The total cost for the two drones is $69,985. The purchases for ALPRs and drones both came from EPD’s budget.

(Correction: This article was updated at 11:53 a.m. Tuesday, April 9, to correct reference to Lydia Lee’s title. NonDoc regrets this error.)