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Diner to anchor development on Classen Boulevard

Developers bet on downtown development spreading west
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: July 28, 2014


photo - 
Co-owners and developers Ben Sellers, left, and David Wanzer are set to redevelop a former B.F. Goodrich tire shop at 916 NW 6 into restaurant and retail space. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
  NATE BILLINGS - 
NATE BILLINGS
Co-owners and developers Ben Sellers, left, and David Wanzer are set to redevelop a former B.F. Goodrich tire shop at 916 NW 6 into restaurant and retail space. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman NATE BILLINGS - NATE BILLINGS

The late Neal Horton is widely credited as being a visionary who saw the potential in Bricktown long before it became the state’s premier urban entertainment district.

Now, a group of developers say another Horton vision from 40 years ago – one that suggested the greater downtown area would span west to Classen Boulevard – is also set to become a reality.

David Wanzer and Ben Sellers, who bought the former B.F. Goodrich tire shop at 916 NW 6 earlier this year for $1 million, are set to begin a redevelopment that will include a breakfast and lunch diner to be operated by the owners of the S&B Burger chain.

“We started looking at it about five months ago,” Wanzer said. “It was a building I had driven past many times. I drive down Classen every day. It has great lines, a 1960s garage, and it sits on the west edge of Midtown and downtown. It has potential to be something special.”

Those “great lines” inspired the designs by Butzer Gardner Architects, which turns the former garage bays into storefronts and uses steel structures to extend the building’s presence at the corner of NW 6 and Classen Boulevard.

“The magic is in all the simple moves,” Butzer said. “It’s very typical of what we see in Austin — you use simple shades and a steel structure to pull it out and engage the sidewalk. You give it scale, depth and make it inviting. It’s really simple place making.”

Shanon Roper, along with S&B Burgers partner Bryan Neel and Aly Branstetter, are set to open as the building’s first tenant, a 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. breakfast and lunch diner, by late autumn.

“We’ve been looking for a diner to eat in, so we’re going to make it,” Roper joked. “We want homemade, fresh from scratch to the table, made in Oklahoma, locally produced food.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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