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Thread: Tower Theater

  1. #1
    Patrick Guest

    Uptown/23rd Tower Theater

    address=425 NW 23rd
    owner=David Wanzer, Ben Sellers
    cost=$3,000,000
    sq. feet=25,400


    Information & Latest News

    • July 15, 1937: Opened for business
    • January 16, 1985: Last box office movie shown
    • November 2005: Property purchased by Scott Fife, Marty Dillon, Matt Goad and Terri Sadler-Goad
    • May 2009: Sign renovation begins in earnest
    • July 2009: Dillon announces plans to move his Party Galaxy business to 3,000 s.f. on the 2nd floor
    • December 1, 2009: Sign illuminated once more
    • July 13, 2011: Announcement that Deep Fork restaurant group will lease 4,500 s.f. and operate two restaurant concepts plus a bar on the ground level
    • December 16, 2011: Renovation plans submitted to Urban Design Committee
    • December 20, 2011: $800,000 building permit issued
    • November 11, 2012: Dillon said Tuesday his latest plan is to renovate the building in phases, starting with renovation of the street level retail and office space first, and then developing the theater at a later time.


    Links

    County Assessor Record
    Doug Loudenback article
    Gallery

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Pete; 04-02-2012 at 09:05 AM.

  2. #2
    Jack Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Why bother renovating a run down building like this? A brand new building could be built in its place for much cheaper.

  3. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    I can't wait to see that Tower sign lit up. Like others have said, 23rd is an uncelebrated asset; the funkiest street in OKC, with all sorts of unique businesses. I think of how the Will Rogers symbolizes the resurgence of N Western, and how the Tower can do the same for 23rd. If we added some quality unique retail for at least a third mile, we'd have another bona fide inner city destination.
    Continue the Renaissance

  4. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    Why bother renovating a run down building like this? A brand new building could be built in its place for much cheaper.
    Weren't you just a couple threads over complaining about how bad a new strip mall development looked? I completely disagree. This is a neat, historical landmark and I'm very glad it's being preserved.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  5. #5
    Jack Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Yes, I was. I don't like strip malls either. There are newer unique buildings. Look at Leadership Square.

  6. #6
    Jack Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Personally, I think the Tower Theater looks like a dump as well as the shopping center around it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    Personally, I think the Tower Theater looks like a dump as well as the shopping center around it.
    The Tower Theater project includes the shops around it, as well as a parking lot across the street. It will be done the right way and end up as something similar to what the Will Rogers Theater/Sushi Neko/Cafe NOVA area is today.

  8. #8
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    Personally, I think the Tower Theater looks like a dump as well as the shopping center around it.
    That's why it's being renovated, Jack. It will look nice and help revive that area and the Paseo.

  9. #9
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    There are newer unique buildings. Look at Leadership Square.
    New buildings simply aren't the same as older buildings. You really think someone now would put all of the money and effort into the architecture on the Tower Theater? I doubt it.

  10. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    Why bother renovating a run down building like this? A brand new building could be built in its place for much cheaper.
    Jack, could you please post your construction vs rehab budget numbers so that I could achieve the remarkable level of insight and understanding that you have.

    If my recollection is correct, this is the third unique OKC building that, in your esteemed opinion, should hit the deck. Only seven more selections and you will have your top ten list ready to publish.
    The Old Downtown Guy

    It will take decades for Oklahoma City's
    downtown core to regain its lost gritty,
    dynamic urban character, but it's exciting
    to observe and participate in the transformation.

  11. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    I'm pessimistic here. The Dollar General and the other "clothing" store next door are not going to help this place blossom. I wouldn't recommend anyone invest anything into this project unless something could be done about those other two businesses.

  12. #12
    Urban Pioneer Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    It perhaps is the catalyst that the area needs. The city spent all of that money on a street scape for 23rd and is still a ghetto. However, it may become an interesting district as the tattoo shop blatantly disregards the law and attracts people from all over for tattoos and piercings. The Tower Theater is going to need a great deal of work from the photographs I saw. However, apparently the people who own it have the money. So I say let them spend it and support them as much as possible. Cheever's is right around the corner and rates (I believe) in the top 10 for food in OKC. They're right in the ghetto too and that hasn't scared anyone from going there.

  13. #13
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    I put up my top 15 list as a joke, but I didn't want to give Jack any fuel, so I decided to remove it. I think destroying any historic building at this point is completely against the mission we're trying to go forward with in this city.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Thanks for the support of the Tower Theater (www.okctower.com)project! We, The Uptown Development Group, feel this area is poised for a come back. No other street in Oklahoma can boast a major university and the State Capitol, both within 1.5 miles of the Tower. It is true the project will require a lot of work, but to see this historically significant area, on the original Route 66, thrive again, will be worth it. Plesae note the Dollar General store is 1 block East. If any one is interested in touring the historic theater please let us know.

    Thank you,

    Scott Fife
    The Uptown Development Group
    info@okctower.com

  15. #15
    Jack Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Actually, like always, I was trying to stir debate here. Glad to see everyone in support of historic preservation.

  16. #16
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Hey Scott, thanks for posting. I think we're all pretty excited to hear about the resurrection of the midtown area. As floater said, 23rd Street is one of the most unique streets in OKC, mostly because of the historic structures and history in the area. Structures like The Tower Theater, the Gold Dome, etc. are key landmarks in the area, that add to the general nostaligia of the area. We're looking forward to the ressurgence of the Tower Theater, and the area around it.

  17. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    Actually, like always, I was trying to stir debate here. Glad to see everyone in support of historic preservation.
    Jack, IMO your approach to stiring debate is a little like standing in the airport secutity line and as a joke whispering to the person in front of you that you hope they don't find the bomb in your sneaker. It attracts attention, but isn't very worthwhile or productive.

    The Tower Theatre thread was already under way, so what's the point of the wrecking ball remark?

    The only hope for the eventual revitilization of 23rd Street is the change to more thoughtful and progressive building owners. The new Tower group represent exactly the kind of approach needed. The Dollar Store, Wig Shop, junky auto repair and convenience stores nearby will be replaced by others that more closely mirror the changes in the surrounding neighborhoods over time . . . lots of time.

    Also on same block of 23rd Street as the Tower Theatre, Architect Sam Gresham has moved his offices into the second floor of the building he owns at 400 NW 23rd Street. He has been working on the rehab of that corner for several years. It's good to see these long vacant and delapidated buildings being returned to use.
    The Old Downtown Guy

    It will take decades for Oklahoma City's
    downtown core to regain its lost gritty,
    dynamic urban character, but it's exciting
    to observe and participate in the transformation.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Scott-

    Glad to see it! As an OCU graduate and a resident (just a little north), I'll be ecstatic to see the area renovated! There are plenty of wonderful things about 23rd street and hopefully this will be yet another.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by fife
    If any one is interested in touring the historic theater please let us know.
    I think it would be pretty interesting to tour the theater to get a before and after view of things.

  20. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    What is the route of the old Route 66 through the metro? I thought it came in on 2nd Street in Edmond, then made it's way down to 39th and straight west.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  21. #21

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    23rd street has a lot of potential and it stands to be more urabn feeling than bricktown. I think this is the true anecdote to the "brictktown blues" that Patrick expressed on another thread. Bricktown has drawn a lot more attention to the inner city, but also has done much to sterilize it. The redevelopment of "Uptown" will connect some of the cities best areas. What some here call a Ghetto, I see as sandwiched right between our most upscale neighborhood and the center of our creative citizens. With this project, this group can turn what many consider an area that divides our historic neighborhoods into an area that anchors it. My hope is that it can help foster more interesting and unique local businesses as well as inspire some renovations on some great properties that immediately surround it. I think it's projects like these, even more so than Bricktown, that give a city true charcter with real neighborhoods. in my mind it's just sitting there waiting and just needs a little push.

    And even if the dreams don't get that far, hopefully we will at least get a nice new venue that actually (GASP) sounds good!

    And I don't see why so many are down on the area in the first place. Yes, it is not an exlusive gated community in the boonies, but it is not that bad, imo. It could easily one day be a Melrose or Haight of Oklahoma City.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrown84
    What is the route of the old Route 66 through the metro? I thought it came in on 2nd Street in Edmond, then made it's way down to 39th and straight west.

    Route 66 originally went from Edmond, South on Kelly, to the state capitol. From there it went West on 23rd then North on N. Western or Classen (there is a little confusion to the exact route), to NW 39th to Yukon. There were other routes over the years as it bypassed parts of the city and came through the town of Britton, which is now Britton Road.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    The Dollar Store, Wig Shop, junky auto repair and convenience stores nearby will be replaced by others that more closely mirror the changes in the surrounding neighborhoods over time . . . lots of time.
    Say what? I'm thrilled about the Tower renovation, but I disagree with you completely on this point, ODG. There's nothing wrong with the wig shop, or the Jamaican t-shirt shop, or the Asian grocery. That's called eclecticism, and it's what is sorely missing in this "city."

    Go to a real city and delight in the diversity and funkiness real urban neighborhoods. Attitudes like this: "let's replace the 'junky' wig shop with an architect's office" are what make me skeptical that this city will ever actually accomplish meaningful urban renewal.

    Our single biggest renovation project, Bricktown, has been scrubbed for suburbanites with Disneyland-like ambiance.

    I like the wig shop (though I never shop for them and don't anticipate doing so in the future). I like that corner Asian convenience store. I like the body piercing place next to an upscale restaurant. To me, that's urban, and that's what we desperately want here.

    Now, while we're on the subject, I would have no problem getting rid of that horrific Motel Liquidation shop or whatever the heck it is, or at least utilizing some code enforcement to get them to spruce it up a bit.


  24. Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerguru
    Say what? I'm thrilled about the Tower renovation, but I disagree with you completely on this point, ODG. There's nothing wrong with the wig shop, or the Jamaican t-shirt shop, or the Asian grocery. That's called eclecticism, and it's what is sorely missing in this "city."

    Go to a real city and delight in the diversity and funkiness real urban neighborhoods. Attitudes like this: "let's replace the 'junky' wig shop with an architect's office" are what make me skeptical that this city will ever actually accomplish meaningful urban renewal.

    Our single biggest renovation project, Bricktown, has been scrubbed for suburbanites with Disneyland-like ambiance.

    I like the wig shop (though I never shop for them and don't anticipate doing so in the future). I like that corner Asian convenience store. I like the body piercing place next to an upscale restaurant. To me, that's urban, and that's what we desperately want here.

    Now, while we're on the subject, I would have no problem getting rid of that horrific Motel Liquidation shop or whatever the heck it is, or at least utilizing some code enforcement to get them to spruce it up a bit.

    I didn't mention the piercing shop, Jamaican t-shirt shop, or the Asian grocery. The reflect a growing market in the area. Some of the other businesses serve a market that is leaving the area. Also, I didn't suggest that one particular business replace another.
    The Old Downtown Guy

    It will take decades for Oklahoma City's
    downtown core to regain its lost gritty,
    dynamic urban character, but it's exciting
    to observe and participate in the transformation.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Tower Theater to be renovated

    Good points, guru. I think as long as it stays local, it will be safe from the suburbanification (new word?). But I know what you're saying. In Oklahoma there is this fear of things that are different or things that are seem poorer. Our sprawling lifetsyle has created a lot of isolationism. They key is not to turn each neighborhood into something like every other neighborhood, but to renovate and develop it into it's own identity. Hopefully, 23rd can maintain and build on its ecclectic style.

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