View Full Version : Downtown Living Article

07-16-2007, 09:36 AM
Here is the article from Saturday...Enjoy

By Chris Brawley Morgan
Special Correspondent
A decade ago, an urban pioneer yearning to move to downtown Oklahoma City had few options: an apartment-condominium complex built in 1980, an even older high-rise apartment tower and a few loft apartments.

Today, an urban pioneer has many options.

"Need a place? It's cool and different from any place around. Excellent views. Spectacular views, Charles Dodson said of Gardner-Tanenbaum Group's 17-story Park Harvey Apartments, which just opened after conversion from an office tower.

Other projects require a little more patience. Some are under construction, while other projects boast designs and financing but have yet to break ground, said Kim Searls, marketing director for Downtown OKC Inc.

Some of the recent choices are new buildings, and some are renovations of downtown's venerable old structures. Some are for rent, and some can be owned.

One thing is for sure: Like many revitalized city centers nationwide, downtown Oklahoma City's living options have expanded. In the past five years, more than 900 units have been finished and another 800 are on the way, Searls said.

After checking out three other apartment buildings, Gwen Atkinson and Phil Vaughan recently rented a new two-bedroom apartment at the newly opened Legacy at Arts Quarter.

The married couple, both retired Rose State College professors, already own a 2,600-square-foot suburban home in Norman. However, they found themselves spending most weekends at events in downtown Oklahoma City and then renting a hotel room to avoid the dark drive back to Norman.

They decided to rent an apartment instead, outfitting it with a red sofa, zebra-striped chairs and a Gustav Klimt print purchased from the practically next-door Oklahoma City Museum of Art gift shop.

"Oklahoma City used to be a place to go around or through, Vaughan said. "Now it's like a city used to be, before everyone ran off to the suburbs.

The couple talked with zeal about recent walks to the Civic Center Music Hall, the Museum Cafe and the downtown library. "We are really enjoying going exploring, Atkinson said.

They also like the steady sounds of traffic and the church bell that rings every 15 minutes.

"I love that. I love the sounds of the city. Some people like the sounds of the country. I like the sounds of the city, Atkinson said.

Perhaps most importantly, they appreciate that downtown is filled with people.

In fact, Vaughan and Atkinson soon will be joined by a Norman neighbor moving to a Block 42 condominium, just one of several housing options open to someone wanting to move downtown.

Here are some detail on the newest residences and some just under way:

Block 42, 301 NE 4
This $13.5 million condominium project is comprised of 22 elevator-accessed flats and 20 town homes, all with rooftop deck or balcony.

In early July, 24 units have sold in the project, which is adjacent to Bricktown, developer Grant Humphreys said.

"It's going better than expected. When we first started in June of '06, our loan agreement was that we have 12 presold. We actually had sold 15 or 16, so we exceeded our lender's requirement, Humphreys said. "The market has been responsive to having a quality development in downtown.

Construction workers were adding brick and windows to the structure.

"We are almost in the dry, he said, meaning that work would begin soon on the interiors.

The remaining condominiums are priced between $273,000 and $659,000, he said. Humphreys said he has sold two condominiums to people in their 20s and 30s but also to empty-nesters.

"They are all different life stages and different tax brackets, he said.

He said he thought buyers should be able to move into their new homes by November. Two months later, construction should begin on another of Humphreys' projects. The Flatiron Lofts will include 36 residential lofts, 23,000 square feet of both office and retail space and a skyline pool.

"We are excited about the future of downtown, Humphreys said.

Centennial on the Canal, Lower Bricktown
By early July, 28 of 30 units had sold, said developer Randy Hogan. The project will be ready to move into by December, he said.

The condominiums were priced at $305,000 to $600,000. Only two of the smaller, least expensive units are left and Hogan said he expects them to sell before construction is complete.

"I think it is a real compliment to the overall urbanization of Oklahoma City. The customer base is here, Hogan said.

The $15 million Centennial is in Lower Bricktown, adjacent to the Harkins Bricktown Cinemas 16 and AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. Amenities include a rooftop pool and fitness center.

In some cases, the Centennial condominiums will be full-time homes. For others, the condos will be second homes for people from several cities, Hogan said.

Several companies purchased condominiums for employees to live in on a short-term basis.

"It's a mixed bag. There's not really a defined bag when it comes to downtown living, Hogan said.

Harvey Lofts, NW 12 and Harvey
This 1930s building was converted from a long-vacant nurses' dormitory into 13 condominiums. Construction on the lofts, two blocks from St. Anthony Hospital, was completed in December.

"They were waiting to move in, said spokeswoman Brenda Craiger. "They bought them before they were finished. One thing that shows is there is a market for this.

In early July, three condos were still for sale in the four-story, red-brick building starting at $135,000.

The units range from 650 square feet to 1,300 square feet.

Features include wood floors, stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops and the exposed original concrete ceilings, Craiger said.

Most of the owners are young. Some are students, some work downtown and several are in the military.

They all want the downtown lifestyle, which is another way of saying they would rather not live in the suburbs with a yard, Craiger said.

Legacy at Arts Quarter, 301 N Walker
When the apartment complex opened April 2, renters immediately moved into 17 units. But it won't be until October that the $33 million, six-phase project will be complete, marketing director Kathy Tisland said.

Legacy at Arts Quarter then will comprise 303 apartments, making it the largest residential complex in downtown Oklahoma City.

Currently, 88 units are open and the complex is about 95 percent leased, she said.

"They are leasing absolutely as fast as we can get them open, Tisland said.

Each apartment offers either a city or courtyard view. Renters are assigned a parking space on the same floor as their apartment.

The complex also has a landscaped, courtyard pool.

One-bedroom apartments rent for between $889 and $1,244, with two-bedroom units going for $1,254 to $1,532. Three penthouse apartments two are already occupied rent for $2,500.

"I'll be honest. We weren't sure if Oklahoma City was ready for our upscale rates. But people see them, they love them, they lease them, Tisdale said.

Park Harvey Apartments, 200 N Harvey
Built in 1957, Park Harvey Center originally was an office tower built in the International Style.

Its 17 stories were created from poured concrete, metal panel and glass, a sleek tribute to technology.

After a $12 million renovation, Park Harvey Apartments opened in March.

"People are constantly moving in, said Charles Dodson, vice president of the multifamily division of Gardner Tanenbaum Group, the developer. By early July, 75 of the 162 apartments had been rented.

Rents range from $525 for a lower-level studio apartment to $1,195 for a two-bedroom unit. Many of the apartments are rented by young, single professional people, Dodson said.

"It's within walking distance of all the downtown venues. The trolley stops right out front. The library is across the street, Dodson said. "It's just a killer location. It's the heart of downtown.

Sieber Apartment Hotel and Grocery, NW 12 and Hudson
The $8.5 million rehabilitation is under way. The Sieber Grocery Building was built as a two-story building in 1922.

The six-story hotel was built in 1928. Allen Brown Architects did the design work and Architects Collective of Tulsa is overseeing construction by J.L. Walker Construction.

The rehabilitated property will comprise 38 apartments ranging from 843 square feet to 1,401 square feet.

Commercial space will be available on the ground floor of the main building.

Brownstones at Maywood Park, NE 3 and Oklahoma Avenue
Brick work is under way on the first 15 residential brownstones at NE 3 and Oklahoma Avenue.

The 2-, 3- and 3-story homes will range from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and will be priced from $600,000 to $750,000. Masonry and interior work are underway. Grand opening is scheduled by this fall.

Central Avenue Villas, 444 N Central Ave.
The 30 residential condominiums on the southeast corner of NE 4 and Central will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums, including single-floor and multi-floor luxury penthouses.

Units will range from 735 square feet to 2,800 square feet and will be priced from $150,000 to $275,000. Foundation and underground parking structural work is underway.

Completion is scheduled for mid-2008.

Lofts at Maywood Park, 1 NE 2
The $14 million, four-story Lofts at Maywood Park, developed by Ron Bradshaw, is the newest project under construction. Dirt began last month. The flats are priced at $125,000 to $275,000 and retail space starts at $190,000. Completion by late 2008.

The Hill, NE 2 and Stiles
The $75 million development features 157 urban town homes with 26 floor plans ranging from 1,600 square feet to 3,500 square feet. Foundation work is under way.

Contributing: Business Writer Steve Lackmeyer

"Some people like the sounds of the country. I like the sounds of the city.

07-16-2007, 10:51 AM
I'd love to live in one of the Townhouses on the top floor, having a pool on the roof! Wow! That just sounds great. You would be around the life of the city, everything you pretty much want would be at your fingertip. One thing that would definitely be a disadvantage though would be traffic in those areas. Especially in the Bricktown area(s).

As long as they would have security at the entrance(s) of the buildings and have sufficient parking to fit the needs, it sounds like it would be a great deal. We all know "sufficient" parking though, allotting 2 parking spaces when your family needs 3 or 4.

07-16-2007, 11:14 AM
What family needs 3 or 4?