Gary Brooks admitted Wednesday he's going against his usual approach to developing apartments as he get closer to building the first large-scale housing and retail complex in Bricktown.
Brooks, along with partner Andy Burnett, presented plans for their east Bricktown housing, which will include 250 apartments and 10,460 square feet of retail in the $39 million first phase of what will ultimately be a $70 million development.
The project received more than $5 million in federal stimulus money. In return, Brooks and Burnett have promised to designate 39 apartments as having capped rent for workforce housing.
“Ordinarily when we do a project, the goal is to spend as much money as we possibly can, because we want to build as spectacular a project and get really high rents,” said Brooks, who is also developing The Edge apartments at NW 13 and Walker Avenue in MidTown. “In this project, it's the opposite. It's all based on the percentage of our development cost.”
The deal does not involve Section 8 housing or public housing. But it does require Brooks and Burnett to create 39 apartments where residents' income must fall between 50 percent and 125 percent of median local income.
“We will have residents living in this complex who probably make $19,000 a year,” Brooks said. “We will have residents making $100,000 a year. It will be a real mixed use. That's what the city wants. It's what we want.”
Brooks pledged to mix all income level units throughout the complex. The target market for the capped-rent units likely would be nearby employees and students at ACM@UCO; the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and neighboring hospitals; and Olympic rowers training at the Oklahoma River.
“It's the people who work at the hotels, who work at the restaurants,” Brooks said. “It's the general population that comes downtown and wants to live here.”
To make the deal work, Brooks said, he is designing slightly smaller apartments, and looking for alternatives to materials like granite kitchen countertops currently featured in most new downtown developments.
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We will have residents living in this complex who probably make $19,000 a year. We will have residents making $100,000 a year. It will be a real mixed use. That's what the city wants, it's what we want.”