For Schlotzsky's, it was an opportunity to re-enter Midwest City with an established franchisee, said Amanda Palm, a spokeswoman for Schlotzsky's, which is based in Austin, Texas.
She said the company allowed Jones some flexibility in designing his restaurant and building, which he owns.
“We knew in looking for sites this was simply a good place for our brand. We wanted to be a part of the redevelopment efforts the city was putting into this particular area,” she said.
In December 2011, Midwest City published its revitalization plan for the Original Mile, a one-square-mile neighborhood defined by SE 15 on the north, SE 29 on the south, Air Depot Boulevard on the west and Midwest Boulevard on the east. Much of the classic, 1940s wartime housing built there was becoming dilapidated and was in desperate need of a face-lift.
Midwest City Mayor Jack Fry said when Jones approached the city with plans for a new Schlotzsky's restaurant, he pitched the idea of adding a housing element. Jones, who has no experience being a landlord, was the first business owner to take a chance on the city's vision.
The apartments are within walking or biking distance to the many stores and restaurants at Town Center Plaza and are perfect for somebody looking to live an urban lifestyle, the mayor added.
“It is a bold step for the city. We're changing a little from suburban America to urban America. It's time for Midwest City to adopt some of the architectural things going on around the country,” Fry said. “Sometimes, I think we need to think outside the box ... and this was a place we could do that.”