Widgets Magazine
  • Ambitious mixed-use project moves forward near Penn Square

    After years of planning, an ambitious project proposed for the southwest corner of NW Expressway and Pennsylvania has taken a big step forward.

    Thursday, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend rezoning for the nearly 12 acres at one of Oklahoma City's busiest commercial intersections.

    Dubbed Penn Central, preliminary plans show a hotel, cinema, apartments, 3 parking structures and space for office, retail and restaurants.

    NW 50th Street would be reworked to run through the middle of the development and would allow for improved traffic flow, particularly at the Penn intersection. OKCTalk was first to report on this story last summer.

    Developer Ryan McNeil and his Veritas Development group spent several years acquiring the required property and obtaining signatures from surrounding neighborhoods to remove existing covenants. Multiple meetings were held to receive feedback from people in the area.

    At the planning meeting, several citizens spoke against the project, concerned about increased neighborhood traffic, increased density and how the project would tower over surrounding homes.

    Ultimately, the commissioners agreed the corner was prime for this type of development and that it would well serve the community as a whole.

    McNeil told the group he has been working with several national retailers who would be new to Oklahoma City. When questioned about timing, McNeil said they would only demolish existing buildings when financing was in place and they were ready to build the project, which he hoped would happen in about one year.

    The point was also made that Penn Square is virtually full as are their outlying land parcels, which now include the Container Store, the Cheesecake Factory and Whiskey Cake restaurant.

    City Council will have a final vote on the project in about a month, but typically follow the recommendations of the Planning Commission.

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