Alley seen as key to latest MidTown Renaissance development in Oklahoma City
Work is under way in Oklahoma City to transform the old Guardian Garage and an adjoining alley in MidTown into housing and retail.
Brian Fitzsimmons credits a developer's architectural competition for giving him the chance to pursue a vision for a long-neglected MidTown building that may prove to be a prominent addition to his portfolio.
Videoview all videos
Photoview all 6 photos
MidTown Renaissance, led by Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg and Chris Fleming, has redeveloped dozens of properties in the neighborhood. But for Fitzsimmons, the chance to oversee the conversion of the former Guardian Garage into apartments and retail is among the most unique of the batch, thanks to the inclusion of an adjoining alley.
Once complete, the alley will take on a festive look, serving as an outdoor patio for a future restaurant tenant in the Guardian building while also connecting it and the neighboring Packard and Hadden Hall buildings with nearby parking.
“I might have won the competition based on that alone,” Fitzsimmons mused. “We expanded beyond figuring out the building. We went and looked at how we could tie all the buildings together using the alley as a plaza. We knew that all of these buildings had to use the same parking, so we wanted to make the alley a place for pedestrians, a place where people want to be.”
The 90-year-old Guardian building, 1117 N Robinson Ave., allowed Fitzsimmons the opportunity to create 37 loft apartments and 4,445 square feet of retail space in the shell of one of MidTown's oldest buildings.
The building first was operated as a used car dealership that Fitzsimmons believes was somehow connected at one time with the Packard building to the south. A steel beam crossing the alley still connects the two buildings and will be incorporated into the new plaza. Door openings from both buildings into the alley also are being incorporated into the new public space.
Business Photo Galleriesview all
- 11436Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 11312Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 5665Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 5178Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 4351Oklahoma City pastor will face trial in fatal shooting of son-in law
- 4349OU softball: Sooners inspired by Casey Angle, run-rule Texas A&M
- 4135How to help tornado victims