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Thread: Rebirth in Midtown

  1. Default Rebirth in Midtown

    If the old mercy site isn't pointed to as a great grocery site, I'll take a mid-rise condo with retail.

    Economic rebirth of the MidTown district is expected to follow end of construction
    By Steve Lackmeyer
    The Oklahoman

    The construction of a roundabout in MidTown was painful, but property owners in the area credit the project for what they say is a full-fledged recovery for the north downtown Oklahoma City neighborhood.
    A worker welds railing onto an outdoor, second story patio on what will the new home of Cafe do’ Brasil, which will open this month at NW 11 and Walker. The patio will be an outdoor club and musical venue - an expansion of the popular eatery that was previously at NW 18 and Classen Boulevard. Photo by Jim Beckel
    Combined with the expansion of the area’s biggest employer - St. Anthony Hospital - property owners think MidTown will soon join the ranks of Bricktown, Deep Deuce and Western Avenue as an urban hot spot.

    New restaurants, offices and shops are opening in buildings that were closed for years - and renovations are nearing completion in the district’s landmark Plaza Court Building.

    This time last year, the closure of NW 10 and Walker to make way for the roundabout was being blamed for the closing of three businesses: the Grateful Bean Cafe, Big Ed’s and Dis Guys’ Costume Shop.

    The space once leased to the costume shop is now home to Studio Architecture, and the Grateful Bean is expected to open next month.

    Owners of the wedge-shaped Plaza Court building, closed for almost 20 years, hope to have tenants again by spring. Owner Scott Smith is looking for a mix of tenants ranging from lawyers and boutiques to restaurants. He thinks the area’s cleaned up image and roundabout will make MidTown the inner-city’s next hot spot for development.

    “The roundabout has become a nice focus point, and it seems to have picked up traffic,” Smith said. “The area is looking so much better than it did before.”

    For Jerry Stivers and his partners at Studio Architecture, it was a trip to MidTown’s Brown’s Bakery earlier this year that inspired them to make the neighborhood their new home.

    “We were looking for an area that needs regeneration,” Stivers said. “I think that appeals to architects. Anytime you see a rebirth, you want to contribute to that.”

    Stivers has high praise for the roundabout, saying it makes the area more pedestrian friendly. And that helps at lunch time, Stivers said, as the area’s offerings continue to increase.

    Immigration attorney Lawrence Davis is another MidTown newcomer who likes that he can walk to and from his home in nearby Heritage Hills.

    He and his wife, Ana, bought the 97-year-old Art Deco-style white building last year from Smith, who had already attracted a couple of law firms to the building after starting renovations the year before.

    The property had been empty for a quarter century, Davis said, but is nearing full occupancy. The newest tenant will be his wife’s Cafe do’ Brazil, a popular eatery relocating from its old home at NW 18 and Classen Boulevard.

    When the restaurant opens next month, it will feature a second floor club and outdoor patio with a view of the downtown skyline.

    “I just like the area,” Davis said. “It’s a good area. And we like old buildings.”

    Housing could also be on the way. JoeVan Bullard, executive director of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, confirmed he had inquiries about the former site of Mercy Hospital at NW 12 and Dewey. A previous effort to build apartments on the city-owned property fell through in 2002 after developer Nicholas Preftakes asked officials to acquire additional property for the project.

    Bullard said his agency’s board will likely issue a request for development proposals within the next year or so - after construction starts on projects planned for the Arts District, Deep Deuce and Bricktown. Bullard said his agency will also want to reserve the property long enough to see if it might be identified by consultants as a site for a potential grocery store.

    At the center of MidTown’s transformation is the continued expansion of St. Anthony Hospital.

    Cynthia Archiniaco, vice president of planning and marketing for St. Anthony Hospital, said the $30 million reconstruction of the operating room wing will be complete by summer 2006. At that time work will begin on a $20 million replacement of the intensive care unit.

    Physicians, meanwhile, are nearing completion of planning for a new doctors office building in the hospital east expansion area.

    As part of its campus make-over, the hospital also recently removed an old motel, long considered a blight to the area by civic leaders, and the former Big Ed’s restaurant.

    Other upcoming hospital-related additions include a credit union planned for NW 9 and Walker.

    “We think things are really coming together,” Archiniaco said. “In another year, people won’t recognize the area.”

  2. #2

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    update on the Greatful Bean in Midtown
    Nonprofit cafe to reopen soon in historic area

    By Steve Lackmeyer
    Business Writer

    Peter K. Schaffer thought he had burned out on community service when he closed The Grateful Bean, a nonprofit restaurant he operated in the historic Kaiser's Ice Cream building for 11 years.
    The closing wasn't without cause: Schaffer closed it in Oct. 2004 as traffic to the area was strangled by construction of the city's first roundabout. Not only was there no parking, but even walking up to the restaurant involved navigating torn-up sidewalks and construction barriers.

    At the time, Schaffer was hesitant to say whether the restaurant would ever reopen. But a year later, he's returning as MidTown makes a comeback.

    Some of the old familiar faces, such as greeter Roy Harris, will be back when it reopens later this month. The ice cream made on the premises also will return -- along with Schaffer's mission of creating opportunities for the marginally employed or chronically unemployed.

    "I've had three offers from people wanting to buy it," Schaffer said. "But with the passage of time, I'm ready to jump back in."

    The restaurant doesn't look as if it's been closed a full year. Harris, a retiree from Tinker Air Force Base, has checked on it weekly, always hoping the call would come from Schaffer for him to return to his post.

    Schaffer, an attorney, bought the building in 1992, remodeled it and got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    The building is more than 90 years old and for decades was home to Kaisers Ice Cream. Before it closed, the restaurant had become a quirky neighborhood draw, with piano and guitar players often performing for lunch crowds and souvenir postcards for sale at the counter.

    Over the years, Schaffer grew the operation from producing ice cream with a small crank unit to using bigger machines in the back of the restaurant.

    Fellow attorney Marissa Lane is in talks with Schaffer to expand the Grateful Bean's mission to producing ice cream for area stores.

    "If you go to the grocery store, it's hard to find any ice cream that isn't mass produced," Lane said. "And the Grateful Bean is set up to produce large quantities of ice cream already."

    Lane's offer is to find ways to market the ice cream and to see if the Oklahoma Food Cooperate can help on distribution. Like Schaffer, Lane sees the restaurant as an opportunity to give back to the community by expanding employment opportunities for the less fortunate.

    "I knew of the Grateful Bean, and I wanted to meet Pete," Lane said. "I wanted to hear how he began pursuing a deeper meaning in his life."

  3. Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    I'd like to see a nice fountain put in the middle of the roundabout, but otherwise it looks very nice. I drove through there just a couple days ago. It's going to be a cool urban district in the future. The Plaza Court building is very unique and I like that it still has the big neon sign on top.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  4. #4

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Isn't it funny that Bullard is quoted in the article about housing. More of the same. I.e., let's wait until construction starts on all of these other downtown housing projects before even issuing invitations to bid?

    OCURA is S-L-O-W.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrown84
    I'd like to see a nice fountain put in the middle of the roundabout, but otherwise it looks very nice. I drove through there just a couple days ago. It's going to be a cool urban district in the future. The Plaza Court building is very unique and I like that it still has the big neon sign on top.
    I would second that notion on the fountain, that would make for a very good sight when driving through the roundabout. I would also like to see it well lit and nice landscaping done. I think maybe the city should look into adverstising this spot with expectations of things they would like to see done, such as the fountain. Would be a new kind of way to advertise such as putting a sign out there, fountain and landscaping or just naming the area donated by such and such company.

  6. #6
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    I'm glad to see the Greatful Bean Cafe re-opening. If you've never been there, I encourage you to go for lunch, or drop in for some ice cream, when it reopens. It's an atmosphere unlike any other. It's a great place to relax and take in the sounds of life!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    All I can say is this isn't the only project that is in the works and will be announced soon. Hush Hush!!

    MidTown to get condo loft project

    By Steve Lackmeyer
    The Oklahoman

    The race to open the first downtown condominium development in 20 years might surprisingly end in MidTown, not Deep Deuce or Bricktown.
    A half dozen multiunit for-sale housing projects are in the works in and around Deep Deuce and Bricktown. But a deal scheduled to close next week is expected to result in portion of the old Wesley Hospital at NW 12 and Harvey being renovated into 16 condominiums that would be ready by spring.

    Harvey Lofts LLC, a partnership led by developer Bert Belanger, is scheduled to close on its purchase of the property Dec. 22. It also has a request for a $420,000 Murrah District Economic Development Loan being considered today by the Oklahoma City Council.

    Belanger said the previous owner, a California investor, had started renovations, but the project stalled and the property was put up for sale.

    "It's partially renovated," Belanger said. "They gutted the building, which was the nurses' quarters, put new skin on it, new windows, and had started renovating the building next door. They had gotten to the Sheetrocking stage."

    With all that work completed, Belanger estimates the previous owner was "a few weeks away" from being finished.

    Belanger said he and his partners Pat Garrett and Jeff VanHoose plan to resume the renovations within two weeks of the sale closing. Construction is estimated to cost just more than $1 million.

    The residences will average 1,200 to 1,300 square feet, with sale prices starting at $100,000 for an 800 square foot loft.

    Belanger and Garrett are involved in three other announced downtown housing projects: the renovation of three Kerr-McGee office buildings, construction of town homes in The Triangle and the Central Avenue Villa lofts in Deep Deuce.

    The empty buildings are immediately south of Wesley Village Retirement Community, which was the main building of Wesley Hospital for 63 years. The hospital itself was renamed Presbyterian Hospital in the 1960s, and later moved to NW 13 and Lincoln, where it is now part of the OU Medical Center.

    The loft development coincides with a resurgence of MidTown, which is on the northwest fringe of downtown. Cafe Do Brasil recently opened at NW 11 and Walker, while renovations are under way at the Plaza Court building, a MidTown landmark.

    Russell Claus, a city planner who oversees the Murrah development fund, anticipates the Harvey Lofts will continue MidTown's revival.

    "It shines a light on opportunities in the area," Claus said. "If this works, people holding back on other properties might finally move forward."

  8. #8

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Quote Originally Posted by okrednk
    I would second that notion on the fountain, that would make for a very good sight when driving through the roundabout. I would also like to see it well lit and nice landscaping done. I think maybe the city should look into adverstising this spot with expectations of things they would like to see done, such as the fountain. Would be a new kind of way to advertise such as putting a sign out there, fountain and landscaping or just naming the area donated by such and such company.
    Actually Saints is beginning a campaign next year to raise money for just that sort of stuff. We are def. looking to incorporate either a water feature or a nice piece of sculpture into the roundabout.

    There is no city monies appropriated for any further beautification, apparently.

  9. Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    The rendering of the loft project in the paper showed a lot of vacant space around the project... I couldn't tell if that was actually vacant or if they just took out some buildings to show the building they want to convert. If it's vacant land, then it would certainly be a great place to build more units in the future.

    Belanger sure got a good deal on this one, only having to put in another 1 million for renovation. I wonder what he paid for the property.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    I know but I can't tell. All I can say is pull county assessor records after it closes.

  11. Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Quote Originally Posted by escan
    Actually Saints is beginning a campaign next year to raise money for just that sort of stuff. We are def. looking to incorporate either a water feature or a nice piece of sculpture into the roundabout.

    There is no city monies appropriated for any further beautification, apparently.
    You are correct escan, There is no City money set aside for a decorative element in the round-a-bout. However, the Public Works Department has agreed to provide the concrete footings and/or foundation for an installation there as part of the next phase of the Walker Avenue streetscape project.

    The fountain idea has been discussed in the past, but has little appeal due to the relatively small diameter of the round-a-bout combined with the prevailing SW winds that would turn it into a car wash on most days.

    There is a derth of public art in Oklahoma City and the Walker/10th round-a-bout is very prominent and a premier location. It is too important a site to waste on a fountain or another clock tower. The Midtown Redevelopment Corporation (MRC) has plans to write guidelines and do a national RFP for a major art installation for that site next year. Previous discussions with Saint Anthony were unproductive but they will definitely be invited to participate again. Fund raising for the $40K to $50K budget will begin in the Spring.

    Also, The MRC has raised about $17K for construction and installation of four very contemporary Midtown gateway markers that are being designed by Studio Architecture. They will be installed by the end of 2006 at about 5th & Walker, 13th & Walker, Robinson or Harvey & 10th and Shartel or Classen & 10th.
    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.

  12. #12
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Here's a Midtown update:

    Developer announces plans to convert historic properties

    By Steve Lackmeyer
    The Oklahoman

    The transformation of MidTown continues, with developer Greg Banta unveiling plans today for the first of more than two dozen property renovations aimed at converting nuisance properties into upscale housing, retail and offices.

    The Oklahoma City Urban Design Commission, which is charged with overseeing exterior renovations in the north downtown area, will review Banta's "MidTown Renassaince" plans today for two buildings that were built in 1920 and 1946. They are among more than two dozen properties Banta has bought, has a contract pending for or is negotiating sales for in an area bordered by Classen Boulevard, NW 10, NW 14 and Dewey Avenue.

    "It will be a true mixed use development," said Banta, who is moving his offices into a building at 1329 Classen Drive. "I think our timing is just right. It's poised to be the next hot development area in downtown."

    To date, The Banta Cos. has spent $4 million buying 18 properties, with plans to spend another $4 million on further acquisitions and renovations.

    Banta's ties to MidTown go back to the early 1990s, when he worked in the area. He later managed one of MidTown's landmark properties -- the Pasteur Medical Building.

    Even after opening his own company's offices in northwest Oklahoma City, Banta often wandered back to MidTown.

    "I never drove around much, except to see the old Mid-Continent Life building," Banta said. "I always felt that was the best historic building in Oklahoma City."

    In 1998, after starting his company, he brokered the sale of a building at 1329 Classen Drive. He was dazzled by the property -- but wasn't able to buy it.

    In May, Banta and his wife were dining in Bricktown and decided to make another trip by the old Mid-Continent Life building. The 1329 Classen Drive building was up for sale again -- and this time, Banta was ready to buy it and make it his headquarters. But he remained concerned about the surrounding area. Driving around MidTown, Banta assembled a list of troubled properties that needed an overhaul to make the area viable.

    "For a pure selfish standpoint, my thought was if we were to move our offices there, we needed to make the area cool," Banta said. "We worked with several brokers, worked with some owners directly and tried to stay in the background so that nobody would know what the overall picture really was."

    Kevin Jacobs, president of The Banta Cos., said they had help from area residents in determining which properties were nuisances -- and which properties were contributing to the area's well-being. They think they have eliminated all but two nuisance properties.

    Their purchases include the west side of Francis Avenue between NW 11 and NW 12 -- an area cited by area property owners as the source of drug dealers and prostitutes when St. Anthony Hospital was abandoning its downtown home.

    They also bought the site of the former Myriad Motor Inn at 1305 Classen Drive. The site was reduced to rubble several years ago, with debris dumped into the razed building's basement. Banta recently removed the debris, and cleared the site for office development.

    All but one of the existing buildings will be renovated -- and they will require approval by the Urban Design Commission for any exterior changes, including window replacements.

    "We love the historic character of the area," Jacobs said. "There is one building (at Classen Boulevard and NW 12) that we've had structural engineers look at; the city has declared dilapidated, and we would like to save it. It has a neat front on it. But there is no roof, and the integrity of the building is gone."

    Most of the building renovations were visible this week. The first units are expected to be available by May.

    Plans call for wrought-iron fencing with brick posts and attached parking to be added to each property. Banta said building interiors are being gutted, while exteriors are being preserved.

    "People want that old look and that old feel. But most of them want all the new high-tech stuff -- high-speed Internet, cable television, high-finish counters -- and that's what we're trying to deliver."

  13. #13

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Also, for lunch and dinner, Cafe Do Brazil has opened. Their lunch prices are pretty reasonable $6.00-$8.00 a plate. Dinner is about $15-$25 a plate, but well worth it. Both menus are completely unique and totally unlike any food anywhere else. Give it a try.

    Also, as soon as they get their liquor license, they'll be opening up a bar on the 2nd floor. I've toured it, and it looks NICE! In the springtime, they'll be having open air concerts on their roof which the bar also opens to. I urge you to patronize them now, they are on hard times financially as there were many unexpected setbacks during the rennovation of the property causing them to delay their opening until now. Originally, they had expected to open in the Spring which would have afforded them a better dinner crowd, etc.

    Cafe Do Brazil is at 10th & Walker in the big white stucco building (not sure what the name of the building is, I think it used to be a funeral home).

  14. #14

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    The previous discussion with Saints were unproductive because there is no corporate money appropriated...it will have to be raised by the private sector.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    "People want that old look and that old feel. But most of them want all the new high-tech stuff -- high-speed Internet, cable television, high-finish counters -- and that's what we're trying to deliver."
    This guy knows what's going on. it'll be interesting to see what he pulls off, but he is definately attacking it by knowing the market. I also admire his respect for the properties. These are the kind of people that usually do developments that stay with us for a long time, instead of us looking at them in 20 years and having to do it all over again.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Anyone catch the article in the Journal Record today? It had a good article on Banta. He just launched his "Midtown Renaissance" campaign with 35 banners on and around the buildings he recently purchased and completed. He is now working on the marketing campaign to let everyone know who's redeveloping Midtown. In 6 months he claims you won't recognize the rebirth. I'll try and take some pictures of the banners this week. I know they're up on the Cline and Marion and others as well. The ground floor of the Plaza Court bldg is nearly leased up as well.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Banta blossoms: Company puts ‘Midtown-Renaissance’ stamp on Oklahoma City neighborhood by Kevan Goff-Parker
    The Journal Record
    7/11/2006 OKLAHOMA CITY – Commuters traveling along Midtown Oklahoma City’s NW 10th Street corridor Monday were left with little doubt as to which builder now dominates the area. Thirty giant banners in the area announce The Banta Companies’ “Midtown Renaissance” promotional campaign.

    Greg Banta, chairman and chief executive officer of The Banta Companies, said his company put the banners up during the weekend to ensure that people know “the Midtown Renaissance is alive and well.” The Banta Companies owns nearly 30 buildings in Midtown Oklahoma City. The company has zeroed in on properties from NW 10th Street to NW 13th Street and from Broadway Avenue to Shartel Avenue.

    “We wanted to get the NW 10th Street corridor branded for our Midtown Renaissance (campaign),” Banta said. “More than half a million square feet are now being developed in Midtown with plenty of retail and housing. We hope to cater to everybody.”

    He said The Banta Companies is working with the Oklahoma City’s Urban Design Committee to get approval for the replacement of windows and roofs at many of the properties.

    “The area will look totally different over the next six months, with new windows, roofs and lighting,” Banta said. “We are still doing our development plans on all the properties.”

    He said the signage is part of The Banta Companies’ marketing campaign for Midtown. The banners feature an architect drawing up plans and the phrase, “Midtown Renaissance,” with The Banta Companies’ logo and phone number, which is (405) 840-1600

    “We’ve been working with Visual Image and we’re very pleased with how they turned out,” Banta said. “We have a full marketing campaign with brochures coming out, and a Web site is being developed at www.midtownrenaissance.com, where we will have virtual tours.”

    Banta added the historic Plaza Court building to his portfolio in May and has been busy leasing to tenants. On June 30, the company bought the former Bolen Motor Co. building in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley at 1101 N. Broadway Ave.

    “We almost have the entire first floor of the Plaza Court leased,” Banta said.

    His company’s Web site states that with a degree in accounting and 12 years of commercial real estate experience under his belt, Banta founded The Banta Companies in 1997. His one-man operation soon grew into a diverse company that manages commercial real estate, brokers leasing and sales, develops new properties and manages construction for businesses all over the southwestern United States.

    For the past two and a half years, Banta has served as the mayor of Piedmont, a suburb north of Oklahoma City.

  18. Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    excellent news. Also, looks like he's moving much faster than the snail pace developments in DD and Arts Quarter.
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  19. Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Very good to hear!
    Continue the Renaissance

  20. Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    I like this Greg Banta - a lot.


  21. #21

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Banta continues spending spree in MidTown
    Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    By Heidi Rambo Centrella


    In the past several months, Greg Banta, chairman and CEO of The Banta Companies, has closed deal after deal on several properties in Oklahoma City's MidTown area. His current purchase of a 21-property package will bring Banta's total holdings in what he calls the “MidTown Renaissance” to more than $20 million. That number, however, pales in comparison to the amount he will invest in renovating the commercial, residential and multi-family properties.

    When all is said and done, his MidTown Renaissance will consist of 30 structures stretching from NW 10 to NW 13 streets, between Broadway and Classen avenues. These recent acquisitions will bring Banta's total square-footage-ownership to approximately half a million in MidTown.

    His most recent deals, set to close around the end of the month, include: A two-story historical structure at 1100 N Broadway, currently owned by Chris and Meg Salyer; Pat's Lounge, 201 NW 10; Fellowship Travelers building, 215 NW 10; Guardian Garage, 1117 N Robinson, and an office building next door at 1133 N Robinson; the Osler Building, 1200 N Walker; an office building owned by Corsair Cattle Company at 430 NW 12; three buildings across the street from the Osler Building; as well as numerous lots in the MidTown area.

    Banta's promotional campaign kicked off last weekend as he branded the MidTown area with banners reading “MidTown Renaissance.”

    “We've really isolated an area and our purchases have been very strategic,” Banta said. “There's a method to the madness, and I think a lot of people thought these were random investments, but they weren't. It was a very carefully thought-out plan, and now it's time to execute it and get to work.”

    While his project has been more than a year in the making, he says “it's paid off.”

    “There will be visible changes immediately,” Banta said. “By the end of year, there will be all new windows up and down the corridor which will change the look tremendously.”

    Banta's plans include re-roofing all buildings as needed, installing new windows, gutting interiors, upgrading all utilities and finalizing a development plan for the corridor.

    His first stop, he said, is going to Urban Design Commission to get approval to replace windows, which should be completed by end of year.

    The planned mixed-use development will include residential housing, office space and retail.

    “I have a number of people looking in the area, and have begun negotiating several leases already,” Banta said.

    The properties had few existing tenants, he said, and every building acquired has basically been vacated.

    Plans for the Osler Building include office, residential or a combination of the two.

    “That's a great building,” Banta said. “I use to office there in '93.”

    Plans are in place to renovate the property at 1133 N Robinson as an event center for weddings and other such events.

    “We're negotiating with a couple of groups,” Banta said. “Because it has several large rooms and full facilities, we're hoping to get someone to come in and operate it as a wedding chapel and event center where people can host parties.”

    The Guardian Garage, he says, has the potential for residential on the top floor and mixed-use office and retail on the ground floor.

    Pat's Lounge likely will have mixed-use office and retail on the ground floor, as well. Currently he is negotiating with a couple of restaurants, names of which he would not disclose; nor would Banta disclose the agreed-upon purchase prices of each individual property.

    “Everything that we have currently under contract will be closing in the next few weeks,” he said.

    On June 30, Banta closed on the old Bolen Auto Group building, 1101 N Broadway, in historic Automobile Alley for $2.4 million at $36 per square foot.

    Banta said he is considering everything when it comes to the building and its future plans, whether it becomes office space or residential housing. He also said he continues to buy in MidTown because he believes it is an area the city wants to see improve and he's already committed to the area with other recent purchases.

    Those other purchases include the following properties: Plaza Court, 1100 Classen Drive, for $2.5 million; Marion Hotel, 110 NW 10, for $265,000; Cline Hotel, 1018 N Harvey, for $389,000; and Pasteur Medical Building, 1111 N Lee Ave., for $2.5 million.

    “We will be naming several tenants in Plaza Court shortly,” Banta said. “The leasing in Plaza Court has been overwhelmingly successful, and we plan to carry that all up 10th Street - it's going to be a really fun place.

    “We want to make it visually interesting and have a lot of places for people to live, work and play.”

  22. #22

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    It would be interesting to know how much TIF money is being used for Midtown versus how much TIF money is being used for the new strip mall in Norman.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    What is the general opinion of Banta in terms of the quality of his redevelopment projects?

    It seems that Plaza Court has been done well... Is everyone pretty optimistic that he'll do things right in Midtown?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    Malibu, my opinion is that is not much to judge him by. We need more time. The Plaza Court building was 85% remodeled before he took ownership. It was already being remodeled by the previous owner. None of his other projects that I have known of have been underway up until just a few weeks ago. The key thing is that I really think his heart is into it, and that means a lot. That often can't be said of some developers, especially ones from out of state. Only time will tell.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Rebirth in Midtown

    He seems to be doing a pretty good job on the condo offices that he's renovating from old apartments on Francis (in between 11th and 12th) but I was disappointed to see that he razed the great old red brick apartments on 11th and Classen instead of renovating. They were/could have been wonderful.

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