Conceptual plans for a $17 million makeover of the Mideke Building to become the home of Tapstone Energy won near-unanimous praise Wednesday from the Bricktown Urban Design Committee members.
The plans by New York City-based Rogers Partners propose the creation of a modern glass facade to replace a brick alley facade, a change similar to one the firm oversaw as part of renovation of downtown’s Braniff Building.
Tapstone Energy was founded in October by local energy leader Tom Ward. Tapstone’s lease with the building’s owners provides enough space for the company to grow its workforce to up to 150 employees.
Architect Aaron Young, who also worked on the Braniff Building when Ward was CEO at SandRidge Energy, said the Mideke Building is in far better shape with most of its historic facade still intact.
Young said the biggest challenge with the Mideke Building was to bring sunlight into the eastern half of the building, and the proposed solution was to replace much of the brick alley wall with a new glass facade.
The plans, which will be formerly presented for approval at the Bricktown design committee’s next monthly meeting, also suggest the creation of atrium spaces on the building’s fifth floor and between the first floors of the main building and an adjoining one-story building to the east.
A proposed glass-encased stairwell on the building’s east façade was the only design element that drew debate from the committee. Members Mark Krittenbrink and Bob Bright said they were unsure if the stairway was a good fit for the building, while Phil Miller and Tom Wilson both said they liked the design.
The committee members all agreed they liked the overall proposed design.
“I think this is an excellent example of taking an old Bricktown building and being sensitive to the historic character and yet modernizing it in such a way it gives you the footprint you need for your plan,” said Wilson, the longest serving member of the committee and an architect with 30 years’ experience in the district.
Tapstone spokesman Greg Dewey said Ward is looking forward to relocating to Bricktown.
“We love the options and the amenity this provides our employees,” Dewey said. “Our philosophy is to take under-developed assets and maximize their potential,”
“To have a building that speaks to what we stand for as a company means a lot to us,” Dewey said. “It’s an under-developed building – nothing has happened in the top three floors for decades.”
Andy Burnett, co-owner of the building, said he and his partners share Tapstone’s vision for matching the success of Braniff Building in revitalizing the corner of Dean A. McGee and Robinson Avenues with the Mideke Building and Oklahoma and Sheridan Avenues.
“My goal is a great mixed-used building that has good interaction with the street, brings life to the district, and more importantly, to that corner,” Burnett said. “We want to see the same life that Kitchen No. 324 brought to the Braniff building and its surrounding area.”