The influx of housing in Midtown is set to gain another 327 apartments with a partnership between local developer Gary Brooks and Indianapolis-based Milhaus Development.
Brooks, whose Cornerstone Development is building the $36 million, 250-unit Edge apartments at NW 13 and Walker Avenue, will be partnering with Milhaus in building a $42.5 million, five-story complex at NW 10 and Shartel Avenue.
Most of the block has been vacant for more than a decade, and was last home to a nurses' housing tower that was vacant and dilapidated when it was torn down by nearby St. Anthony Hospital. The area has seen a revival in recent years with an influx of housing, restaurants, shops and bars.
“It's hard to argue that Midtown offers the best quality of life for downtown residents right now if you're wanting more than just an apartment and a couple of restaurants,” Brooks said. “We have a lot larger mix of restaurants, bars, shops and employers right now. I loved it already, obviously, with me already building The Edge.”
The project marks significant milestones for both companies. Brooks also is developing The Steel Yard apartments and retail in Bricktown, which, when both phases are built, will total 376 units. All together, his downtown area residential development totals just under 1,000 apartment units.
Milhaus, meanwhile, has developed several urban complexes in Indianapolis and has chosen Oklahoma City as one of four new cities for expansion.
David Leazenby, co-founder and vice president of development at Milhaus, said Brooks was identified as an ideal partner due to his experience and his existing management operation.
Brooks, meanwhile, visited Indianapolis and praised Milhaus for bringing fresh perspective to design and development.
“I wasn't looking for an alliance, but I wasn't opposed to one,” Brooks said. “It's an alignment of our styles — how we think about our futures, how we don't want to stick with traditional old school rules but think outside the box. It's hard to find people who do that.”
The design is unlike any residential development underway, completed or contemplated downtown or elsewhere in Oklahoma City.
The building will be five stories high and face the northwest corner of NW 10 and Shartel Avenue roundabout, with an all-glass facade on the ground level of the corner where 4,500 square feet will be available for retail space.
Three very different balcony styles and sizes face the two main streets. The facade, meanwhile, will consist of cement boards, metal, glass and masonry.
Unlike other large complexes being built downtown, the 455-space garage will be built on the outer northwest corner of the property. That corner faces surface parking on both sides, including a planned new headquarters for Catholic Charities of Oklahoma.
“This site deserves a custom solution, because of the views, being next to St. Anthony, and being on the traffic circle,” Leazenby said. “You need different types of balconies. And it goes along with the size of units — some units will be larger and need larger balconies, while others are smaller, and they might not be used as much, so the balconies might not be used as much.”
Brooks and Leazenby say some details still need to be finalized before they file their application for consideration Nov. 19 by the Downtown Design Review Committee. They hope to start construction April 1, with an opening 18 months later.
The pair also plan to seek an unspecified amount of Tax Increment Financing assistance for the project. They also will ask the city to allow for angled street parking to be added along NW 10.
Leazenby said Midtown was his company's first choice for entering the Oklahoma City market.
“We're looking for other neighborhoods for sure,” Leazenby said. “We are committing to more than just this one project. But we like Midtown first because of all the energy, and the chance for success is very high because of all the momentum already taking place.”