Film Row enjoys flurry of new development

The historic Film Row on the west side of downtown is undergoing redevelopment that includes a string of building renovations, new restaurants and attractions.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm •  Published: July 19, 2012

An influx of people

Similar efforts are being taken by Fudge as he continues renovations of the Hart Building at 726 W Sheridan Ave. and Douglas Sorocco/Dunlap Codding, an intellectual property rights law firm, as it turns an empty warehouse at 609 W Sheridan Ave. into its new headquarters.

Fudge estimates the Hart Building renovation is about 40 percent complete with steel installation set to be finished next month. A new parking lot being constructed to the south of the building includes extensive landscaping and a lot made with crushed asphalt to give up less heat. The parking lot, Fudge said, is designed to tie into the same alley turned parkway that will connect with the future home of Butzer Gardner Architects.

DeeMah Ramadan, designer with Design Build Group, which is overseeing the renovation at 609 W Sheridan Ave., said plans call for a green space at the entrance to an adjoining parking lot. When reviewing historic photos of the property, Ramadan said she was delighted to see a decades-old photo showing a garden in the very same spot.

“It's purely ironic we're putting green space in the same exact spot that it used to be in the early 1900s,” Ramadan said.

With the continued redevelopment of long-neglected buildings comes an influx of people. Ramadan said 35 people are expected to move into the new Douglas Sorocco/Dunlap Codding headquarters. About 175 people will work in the Hart Building when it becomes home to Claims Management Resources; Credit Collections Inc. and Ferrell Oil.

‘The next hot spot'

Negotiations also are under way for a third location of the Health Nut Cafe to open in the Hart Building, while the Oklahoma City Coworking Collaborative opened this week at 704 W Sheridan Ave. Garneau, meanwhile, is banking on the growing buzz of Film Row to fill up seats at her Paramount OKC when it opens next month with nightly (except Sundays) independent film screenings, poetry readings and history presentations.

With all this activity, and Devon Energy Center in the foreground, friends are no longer mocking Fudge for plowing his money into “skid row.”

“Life is good,” Fudge said. “My friends who thought I was nuts for doing this initially now think I'm brilliant. Really, I'm just lucky. We're continuing to buy property in the area. And if the boulevard (planned along the alignment of the old Interstate 40) goes in at ground level as I expect, I think the area south of here will be the next hot spot.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
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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