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  1. #1

    Film Exchange International Crystal

    Local developer plans to renovate former crystal buildings in Film Row

    Eric Fleske of Norman has placed the old International Crystal properties in Film Row under contract for purchase and has submitted plans to renovate the historic structures.

    Before closing its operations earlier this year, International Crystal occupied the pair of ornate Art Deco structures each built in 1930: a 13,750 square foot building at 623 through 639 Sheridan and a 5,600 square foot office building at 10 N. Lee.

    The design plans drawn by Phase One Design show bringing storefronts along the Sheridan frontage similar to what has been done in several formerly light industrial buildings along the south side of the street.

    The future owners intend to maintain the historic looks of the buildings while updating the windows and storefront glazing in the hopes of attracting new businesses and clientele.

    The office building on Lee would remain as professional offices being serviced by an adjacent parking lot, also to be purchased and renovated with new paving and decorative fencing.

    Under the plan, the alley between the two buildings would be closed and the delapidated windows would be salvaged with new units replacing them.

    The project would be yet another addition to the area which is now home to the 21c Museum Hotel and Jones Assembly to the west, surrounded by the West Village apartment and commercial project well under construction.

    Fleske is part owner of Equity Realty in Norman, which owns, develops and leases dozens of commercial properties.

  2. Default Re: International Crystal

    Awesome news! I've always thought these buildings (especially the one on the corner) had a lot of promise and had been wondering why nothing had been done with them yet.

  3. #3

    Default Re: International Crystal

    The occupancy rates in Film Row are very high. I don't think there are any vacant storefronts along Sheridan.

    Looking forward to this key corner being refreshed and coming back to life.

  4. #4

    Default Re: International Crystal

    Back in the late 50s, International Crystal's offices were at 12-1/2 N Lee, a rather rundown walkup. Their actual plant was across the street in the old Video Theaters building, but it bore absolutely no external signs indicating what went on inside or who was in charge.

    The company founder, Royden Freeland, was an interesting fellow. I interviewed him for an article that I sold to "Popular Electronics" around 1959; he and a partner started as brokers peddling war-surplus quartz-crystal devices, used to maintain radio equipment on fixed frequency, and expanded to manufacturing the devices to order. He absolutely refused to deal with government contracts, although the FAA center was potentially one of the largest possible customers. Cash on placing a custom order was his firm policy. He steadfastly refused to consider allowing unions into his organization. And he was, more than any other single individual, responsible for the CB-radio craze that swept the nation in the 70s and 80s. He provided a leading hobby-electronics writer, Don Lancaster, free parts with which to create a CB transceiver shortly after the FCC created the service. Lancaster developed the design, which was published as a cover article in "Electronics World," and International Crystal launched a major ad campaign to sell the resulting kit. That snowballed when long-distance truckers adopted its use.

    He deliberately kept his company out of the limelight locally. He did not want to reveal the scope of its operations and attract attention from labor organizers. National attention in the electronics industry was quite acceptable, so long as I didn't reveal the office location, number of employees, or any sales figures.

    Royden and his wife died tragically when their Aero Commander exploded in the air just a few minutes after takeoff from Wiley Post, en route to Las Vegas. So far as I know, no cause was ever discovered.
    Last edited by Jim Kyle; 09-02-2017 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Added some more detail.

  5. #5

    Default Re: International Crystal

    Property sale was just closed for $2.6 million.

  6. #6

    Default Re: International Crystal

    They've replaced most the windows and have cleaned out the inside.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: International Crystal

    Beautiful. I always knew it would be.

  8. #8

    Default Re: International Crystal

    2 new bars and much more coming to Film Row

    On the heels of the announcement of several new breweries, Film Row will soon be adding 2 more bars and several additional retailers and services.

    The operator of FlashBack Retropub and the newly-opened Sanctuary Barsilica, Jose Rodriquez, is preparing to launch another drinking establishment in the same complex.

    At a cozy 1,500 square feet, Hemingway Cocktails will feature more than 80 rums in a setting that will be a tribute to author Ernest Hemingway.

    A Caribbean theme will be the backdrop as a nod to the author who spent many winters in Key West. Shelves will be filled with his books along with others from the same era and a signature daiquiri will be named after the man himself.

    Many of the rums will be highly aged with complex flavors suited towards sipping, similar to fine whiskey.

    Rodriguez expects hours to mirror his other two establishments: Tuesday through Friday at 5PM and weekends at 2PM with a targeted opening of July.

    Directly behind Hemingway will be Golden Hour Bar & Lounge, a 2,600 square foot bar will offer craft cocktails, local beers and a wine selection.

    Proprietor Phil Pham told OKCTalk he has worked with an interior designer towards an intimate, high-end decor with plush booths, a custom bar top and chandeliers.

    The design is meant to provide a relaxed atmosphere where patrons enjoy fine drinks and background music while being able to conduct conversation.

    Outdoor space will be provided through a small patio facing Sheridan.

    Pham hopes to be open by the end of February with likely hours 4PM to 2AM Monday through Saturday.

    The two new nightspots will join a booming Flashback, a Film Row pioneer when it opened more than 3 years ago, and Sanctuary which is enjoying large crowds for karaoke and live music.

    The entire district continues to build momentum with Jones Assembly providing a large draw in the form of a lively restaurant and bar scene along with well-attended concerts.

    West Village recently welcomed its first tenants and will ultimately offer 345 apartments as well as Stitch Cafe, a new location for the Plant Shoppe, a general store called The Goods and a new location for Norman's popular Social Club boutique and salon.

    All this will join the growing brewery and taproom scene, as well as the unique 21c Museum Hotel and its Mary Eddy's Kitchen and Lounge, with the popular Bar Arbolada in the nearby historic Main Street Arcade.

    At the same time, the former International Crystal buildings have been nicely renovated and are nearing capacity. At 10 N. Lee, The Treasury describes itself as a “coworking community for driven women.” Just to the south, Salt & Water Co. is readying a permanent home for their clean beauty and healthy self-care products while operating a pop-up shop in Midtown. And at the corner of Sheridan and Lee, Sweet Yield Studios offers dance and movement classes for all ages.

    Later this year, the new Oklahoma City Boulevard will be complete and greatly aid access to the entire area through a divided roadway that will run east and west and easily carry vehicles from this growing area to and from I-40 and the heart of downtown.

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