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From blighted to booming: Midtown becoming 'downtown neighborhood'

Three new multifamily housing projects are poised to start construction in the once-blighted, now booming Midtown district in Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: November 12, 2013
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photo - Midtown Renaissance Group is set to building a 43-unit apartment complex at 1201 N Francis - one of three such developments being planned in west side of the downtown neighborhood.  Brian Fitzsimmons
Midtown Renaissance Group is set to building a 43-unit apartment complex at 1201 N Francis - one of three such developments being planned in west side of the downtown neighborhood. Brian Fitzsimmons

He thinks the mix of for-sale and rental housing will benefit the neighborhood, which has also seen several modern-style homes being built in the area of NW 7 and Shartel.

“The rental properties bring people down there who otherwise might not be,” Ellison said. “They are coming down to an urban setting and falling in love with it, and then they can then find ways to invest in it.”

Ellison said his development is unique for Oklahoma City in that the condominiums involve minimal floor plans.

“We've really tried to provide the end user with the utmost flex to lay out the units however they want it,” Ellison said. “A lot of for-sale housing I've come across is where you have developers trying to define space. By eliminating walls, you give people options to do whatever they want to.”

Ellison said the design for Lisbon Lofts emphasizes the use of natural light, screening outside units along NW 9, and roll-up garage doors for ground-floor units that allow for outside extensions of living space.

Ellison said he hoped to start sooner, but is glad the project coincides with other ventures in the area.

“I feel like we're in a better position now than we would have been if we had broken ground two years ago,” Ellison said. “When I came to town in 2009, there was so much emphasis and discussion on developing Core to Shore (south of downtown). I never understood that — I saw so much opportunity in Midtown. It's nice to see so many others had that vision. This is going to be the downtown neighborhood.”

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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The rental properties bring people down there who otherwise might not. They are coming down to an urban setting and falling in love with it, and then they can then find ways to invest in it.”

James Ellison,
Developer

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