An effort to develop 250 apartments, a hotel and structured parking on the former site of Stewart Metal Fabricators in east Bricktown is a step closer to reality with the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority on Wednesday granting developer designation to Bricktown Apartments LLC.
The development on E Sheridan Avenue between Russell Perry Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard recently was approved for $4.5 million in federal stimulus funding. That will let the developers, Gary Brooks and Andy Burnett, work with the city to relocate a large storm sewer line and remove contamination on the site. Urban Renewal commissioners on Wednesday also approved a land swap needed for the project.
The development will include about 50 units that are affordable under federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program standards, as well as 200 market rate units to meet the demands of tenants moving downtown — especially students, athletes and employees of the nearby Oklahoma Health Center.
Assemblage of land for the project required the Urban Renewal Authority to negotiate transfer of land agreements with Brooks and Burnett and Stewart Metal Fabricators property owner Robert H. Meinders to acquire an entire block of land north of E Sheridan, between Russell M. Perry and Lincoln Boulevard.
Meinders received a parcel of Urban Renewal land on the southwest corner of E Sheridan and Lincoln in exchange for his land on the northeast corner of E Sheridan and Russell M. Perry.
Meinders, in turn, is set to close on the sale of the Stewart Metal Fabricators property on the north side of the street to Brooks and Burnett in late October.
“Essentially, the agreement with Robert Meinders allowed the block of land to be redeveloped as a whole to benefit our community,” said Urban Renewal director Cathy O'Connor.
“This allows the project to stay cost efficient, and provides for a more cohesive development.”
Brooks said the redevelopment agreement was “a big step forward” in what is a “very difficult project.”
“We have a year just to finish the engineering, get approval from the city, relocate utilities and move the contaminated soil off the site,” Brooks said.
“We have made tremendous progress. But this is the most complicated project I've ever been a part of and it requires the coordination of the federal government, the state and the city. We have a lot of work yet to do.”
O'Connor, however, believes the effort will be worthwhile.
“Oklahoma City continues to see a large demand for rental properties in its downtown core,” O'Connor said.
“This agreement allows the addition of affordable residential units in a growing area of downtown Oklahoma City.”
Work will start on new housing
Construction is set to begin Oct. 17 on The Edge, a $36 million, 250-unit apartment complex. The project, which also includes 8,000 square feet of retail, will be built on the former home of Mercy Hospital at NW 13 and Walker in MidTown. Efforts to redevelop the block began shortly after the old abandoned hospital was razed in the late 1990s.
Developer Gary Brooks was the third developer chosen by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority for the site after two previous efforts faltered. He is set to start construction little more than a year after his proposal was approved by Urban Renewal commissioners. NewsOK is exclusively airing an animated video of what the project will look like once it is complete.