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Dairy demolition
Hotel hinges on removal of old ice cream building

By Steve Lackmeyer Published: February 9, 2008
The old Steffen's Ice Cream building at 101 E Main in Bricktown could soon be demolished to make way for a 95-room Holiday Inn Express.

The development is set to be reviewed Wednesday by the Bricktown Urban Design Committee, which is tasked with approving new construction and exterior renovations.

The developer, Alex Patel, has owned the Quality Inn Trade Winds, 1800 E Reno, since March 2007. The Quality Inn is just east of Bricktown and Patel said he often hears from guests who say they want to see more rooms available in the entertainment district.

"They want to be near the concerts, the events, the conventions,” Patel said. "There is in place now the new Hampton Inn (opening later this year), the Renaissance, the Colcord, the Skirvin ... but we're trying to appeal to the group that can't afford $200 a night. We're looking at $80 to $100.”

The proposed hotel will be four stories high with 54,796 square feet. The facade, designed by Quinn & Associates, includes brick and synthetic stucco. Patel said the hotel's guests would be provided parking space in the north Bricktown lot operated by Don Karchmer.

Patel estimated his project will cost up to $9 million and said he's eager to get the hotel built so that it might be open by the return of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament in March 2009. Patel said his Quality Inn sold out when the tournament was held at Ford Center last year.

"We've got the plans, and the franchise is gung-ho about it,” Patel said. "We could probably get the remaining plans out three months after getting the OK from the design committee.”

Patel said his purchase of the property is tied to getting approval from the committee to tear down the dairy, which was built in several phases starting in 1916. The building is not on the National Register of Historic Places, and is owned by veteran Bricktown developer Karchmer.

The Bricktown urban design ordinance gives the committee power to veto demolition, but it only discourages demolition if a building is on the historic register or is considered locally to be a historic structure.

Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, said determination of whether a building is historical goes beyond whether it's placed on the historic register.

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Steffen's Ice Cream at 101 E Main, as shown in this 1946 photo. The dairy operated at the site for several decades. Developers are wanting to demolish the structure and replace it with a Holiday Inn Express. Photo Provided

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