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Downtown Oklahoma City housing boom leaving residents cranky

Construction work starts before dawn in the heart of the city.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: November 5, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: November 4, 2013

A downtown housing boom is underway with more than 1,000 apartments set to be built this next year.

For civic leaders and planners, such an influx of residents represents a big step toward creating a 21st century-downtown and the chance to show grocers and other retailers it's safe to set up shop.

But with at least four announced projects in Bricktown, Deep Deuce and Midtown, this progress comes with a cost to those who have already made downtown their home.

Residents at the Brownstones at Maywood Park were already familiar with 4 a.m. concrete pours that took place last year with the Maywood Apartments. Now those residents, joined by neighbors at the 2nd Street Lofts and the Level Apartments, are getting awaked again by concrete trucks pouring the foundation for the Mosaic Apartments along Oklahoma Avenue between NE 2 and NE 3.

Residents have shied away from wanting to be named complaining about such construction. They support the development — but they're pleading to have the trucks arrive later in the morning.

If these crews arrived after 7 a.m., residents might greet them with free cups of coffee and doughnuts.

Developers like Richard McKown, who owns Level and is building Mosaic, find themselves in a tough position. McKown has long sought to help make Deep Deuce the first truly mixed-use downtown neighborhood in Oklahoma. He's attended conferences and visited downtowns across the country seeking to learn more about modern urban development.

McKown designed Level to include a small grocery and then spent months wooing Native Roots to take a shot at the unproven downtown market.

Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer, herself a downtown resident, is among those questioning whether 4 a.m. concrete pours are necessary. McKown, hit with complaints after two days of these pours over the weekend, asked the same question of his contractors.

Their answer matched what I've been told by other developers and contractors: downtown residential development is not without pain.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author 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...
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