Here’s where all this gets interesting. Hunsucker didn’t go with any of the usual architects that oversee projects in the downtown design districts. Instead, he hired homebuilder Scott Coleman.
Coleman is a fine homebuilder. He’s great in my opinion. I own one of his homes (second owner) and the quality is really great. But he is a suburban home builder in an urban design district.
Hunsucker likes Film Row, and his designs include a black granite trim similar to the accents found on other buildings in the area. The façade will consist of a darker reddish brick.
Hunsucker said he spoke with city planners and sought to follow the guidelines. He increased the window sizes and took out other windows to better comply with guidelines. He located the building so that it immediately fronts Sheridan and Dewey Avenues, which also would appear to comply with design guidelines.
He admits the building is one story short of the three-story minimum required by the Downtown Design Review ordinance. So he is seeking a variance to keep the building at two stories, noting to go another floor up would create a hardship and is bigger than what he needs.
Hunsucker is not a stranger to OKC Talk – he actually became a member himself earlier this year and has participated in a couple of unrelated threads. And he definitely saw the comments posted by both friendly critics and those who create a more hostile environment.
The garage he had slated to face Sheridan did not please anyone. Nor did the steeped, suburban style roof line.
The constructive comments at OKC Talk are influencing this project. The garage facing Sheridan is being eliminated from the plans. The space will now be slated for retail, an idea discussed at OKC Talk, which, members noted, might go really well across from the school.
Hunsucker, however, is still wanting to go with the pitched roof. He sees the flat roof lines as inviting roof leaks. The upside of boards like OKC Talk is that good alternatives, good ideas can influence folks like Hunsucker, and can broaden their thinking on how they can achieve the building they want to build while fitting in with the neighborhood.
Coleman is a good builder. And instead of mocking his approach, which is different than what folks downtown are accustomed to, imagine what could happen if he were embraced and welcomed into the fold? Imagine the possibilities if a top notch suburban homebuilder like Coleman got the urban bug and joined the rich mix of downtown development now underway. Impossible? Tell that to Richard McKown, who got downtown its first grocery and built the Level apartments.
Hunsucker is welcoming input into his project and has given out his email and phone number: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 405-231-5600.
I’ve heard from some of his future neighbors, and after speaking with Hunsucker, I don’t think the time it take to make such contact will be wasted. Hunsucker’s plans will be heard by Downtown Design Review and the Board of Adjustment on Thursday.