The west end of Midtown, littered with blighted flop houses and abandoned buildings just a few years ago, is becoming a hot spot for new development with three new multifamily housing projects set to start construction next year.
Developer Gary Brooks and Indianapolis-based Milhaus Development announced plans last month to start construction in 2014 on a $42.5 million, five-story complex at NW 10 and Shartel while Catholic Charities of Oklahoma announced plans to build a new headquarters nearby at NW 12 and Classen.
Midtown Renaissance Group, meanwhile, confirmed to The Oklahoman on Tuesday plans to build a 43-unit, four-story apartment building at 1201 N Francis Ave. Mode Development also confirmed construction is set to start on the Lisbon Lofts at NW 9 and Shartel. The complex will feature seven for-sale condominiums in a series of modern-style, three-story buildings.
The Midtown Renaissance complex represents the last undeveloped property owned by the developers, who have assembled dozens of properties throughout Midtown. The property at 1201 N Francis neighbors three other former flop houses renovated into 16 upscale apartments.
Fleming said the new project, which is also his team's first ground-up, new housing project, is designed by architect Brian Fitzsimmons. The four-story complex includes walk-ups, interior-gallery style corridors and covered parking.
Fleming said the project represents an end to the developers' work in the western half of Midtown — the same area where they began residential development several years ago.
“I think this provides some good momentum for what's going on in the greater Midtown area,” Fleming said. “It should add to the neighborhood and create a really good western border to Midtown.”
James Ellison, who is teaming up with developer Rod Baker, has sought to build for-sale housing on the St. Anthony Hospital-owned property at NW 9 and Shartel.
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.”
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.”