Dunbar School in northeast Oklahoma City to be transformed into senior housing

Owner has applied for $525,000 loan to convert closed Oklahoma City school into low-, moderate-income housing.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: June 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm •  Published: June 16, 2014
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The Dunbar School, closed last year after being a community hub for the city’s black population since 1932, is set to be redeveloped as senior housing.

Donald Dillingham, whose company Oak Hills Private Equity LLC. bought the building from Oklahoma City Public Schools, is applying for a $525,000 loan from the Urban Renewal Authority’s Community Development Block Grant fund.

The application, if approved, would require redevelopment of the school into 40 independent senior living apartments, 51 percent of which must be rented to low- to moderate-income senior households. The deal also requires project completion by June 2017.

The school, at 1432 NE 7, is in the middle of the John F. Kennedy neighborhood, which has seen a resurgence over the past dozen years. More than 200 new homes have been built in the neighborhood, and a separate redevelopment effort is being assembled for the neighborhood’s other landmark school, Page-Woodson, which has been closed for 20 years.

Dillingham said Monday he intends to seek historic tax credits for the project and try to get the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The community, he added, appears to support the project.

“A lot of people went to school there,” Dillingham said. “I’ve got a guy I’ve done business with for years, he grew up in the neighborhood, he never offered to put money in a project and he offered to on this one. It just shows this is a cornerstone property for the neighborhood.”

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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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