New OnCue station waiting on permit approval

Scott Minton / Photo Provided

Construction equipment is preparing a site and leveling dirt June 26 about 100 days into the project, prior to an expected six-month compaction period before building construction begins in early 2020.

A gas station building site at Classen Boulevard and Highway 9 in Norman is still on track, according to OnCue officials.

President Laura Griffith Aufleger said the Classen and Highway 9 location will look similar to a new prototype store that's opening next month at 178th Street and Western Avenue in Oklahoma City.

The building will include about eight to 12 fueling stations, parking, a grill seating area, a kitchen and an extended coffee bar that includes fresh bean-to-cup coffee, said Scott Minton, director of business development. The full grill will offer food fresh and made to order.

He said the Classen location will include about 9,000 square feet and had to expand from an earlier size estimate so the project could be 400 feet long.

“A minor tweak can have a major impact on size,” Aufleger said.

Minton said it may appear that work is standing still on the project, but a numerous trees had to be removed, and it takes four to six months for the dirt to properly compact prior to construction. After about four months of compacting, the company is now ready to move forward as soon as a building permit is approved by the city's planning department.

Aufleger is hoping the permit will be approved by early February.

Aufleger said the project required a significant amount of dirt work, which was done by a development company. Now, the project has been fully turned over to OnCue. The anticipated opening date is late fall, dependent on weather conditions.

Minton said the company started the early stages of the project in 2018, including acquiring initial building permits, and dirt work started in 2019.

He said the property they purchased had a small dilapidated building overrun with trees on it, so the dirtwork phase of the project took more time than expected. OnCue purchased additional land, in case the project grew past initial plans, so OnCue could lease out any property they don't use to companies that move next to the new station.

Aufleger said the cost of the project is too hard to estimate at this time because a lot of moving parts are involved, but it's a significant investment.

Aufleger said OnCue has two stores currently open in Norman and is working on two new projects in Norman. Another location on West Lindsey and 24th Avenue Southwest, located near Interstate 35, will be similar to the Classen location and is about one month behind that project.

Minton said the new prototype stores are 25 to 30% larger than older OnCue locations.

OnCue has its own subcontracted construction crews, he said, and both locations are set to be constructed at the same time with two crews.

Aufleger's grandfather started the business in 1966, although it wasn't originally named OnCue. Over the years, the company has had many name changes, becoming OnCue in 2004 as part of a rebranding effort. Company headquarters are in Stillwater. An Oklahoma City location was added in 2006, and now a satellite office is housed in the city, as well.

She said the company has about 1,200 employees in Oklahoma.

Minton said the timeline thus far for the Classen project hasn't been atypical compared to previous construction projects, and the company doesn't want to cut any corners.

So far, OnCue staff hasn't had too many problems working with Norman city staff, he said.

The property on Classen and Highway 9 had to be rezoned as C-2 zoning, which the Norman City Council approved last year.

Aufleger said OnCue strives to offer positive service and a safe environment to its patrons. With the new prototype stores, now there's an added benefit of different coffee offerings.

Minton said OnCue offers top-tier gas and the best coffee offerings in the state.

They also have been upgrading coffee offerings at some existing locations, he said, but it takes time to retrofit the stores and can require running new lines and drains.

“There's quite a bit involved in making it look clean and attractive,” he said.

Aufleger said sometimes a retrofit involves expanding the front of a store.

Another addition OnCue is seeking is offering alcoholic beverages made in Oklahoma breweries.

For more information about OnCue, visit oncueexpress.com.

Jamie Berry

Follow me @JamieStitches13

jberry@normantranscript.com

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