When Kevin Durant's new restaurant opens in Bricktown later this year, he will enjoy a short walk to his new home in Deep Deuce.
Management of the Brownstones at Maywood Park, at NE 3 and Oklahoma Avenue, confirm the Thunder star is halfway through a two-year lease with an option to buy that began almost a year ago. But when it came to buying a downtown home, Durant instead paid $1,769,000 to buy two townhomes at The Hill, at NE 2 and Walnut Avenue.
Michael Biddinger, broker for The Hill, confirmed Durant bought two units, 420 and 422 NE 2, with plans to convert them into one 7,400-square-foot residence. City records show architect Troy Rhodes applied for a $400,000 building permit on Mondayto combine the two three-story townhomes.
Durant chose The Hill among a small group of competing downtown for-sale housing. The more contemporary Block 42 at NE 4 and Oklahoma is sold out, as is The Centennial along the Bricktown Canal. Other choices, however, include not just the Brownstones, but also high-rise condominiums at City Place Tower, 204 N Robinson Ave.
“This is urban living,” Biddinger said. “But it is more traditional in its look — it's not contemporary in design — its more of the brick-and-stone style townhomes you see across the country.”
Durant's purchase is the latest in what is turning into a dramatic turnaround for The Hill, started in 2006 with promises to ultimately build 157 for-sale residences, the largest such addition of owner-occupied downtown housing to date.
The development, however, stalled in 2009 during the national economic crash. With just six homes completed and two occupied, the original contractor, Smith and Pickel Construction, withdrew from the job site when financing dried up. Work stalled for several months.
The developer, Bill Canfield, self financed a restart of construction, and sales resumed in 2011. The original first phase of 24 homes have since sold out, and another eight have sold among the remaining 26 homes either completed, under construction, or about to be built this next month.
Yet another six homes are under contract. Construction also is set to start later this year on a long-promised “town center” clubhouse and pool.
“It took us a while to get finished product,” Biddinger said. “They (the developers) ran into some site issues, and then some construction issues. Not much like this had been done in Oklahoma City.”
Biddinger credits the sales boom to a realization that the local economy was relatively immune from the 2009 “great recession.”
“People realized that the local economy wasn't going to crater and sales skyrocketed,” Biddinger said.
The Hill is surrounded by ongoing development, with construction of an Aloft Hotel wrapping up two blocks west, another hotel proposed immediately south the homes, and hundreds of new apartments being built to the northwest.
Site work also is underway for apartments, retail and a hotel to the immediate south of The Hill, at Sheridan and Russell Perry avenues.
Andy Burnett, who is developing the east Bricktown project with Gary Brooks, said Durant's investment will spur even more interest in Deep Deuce and Bricktown.
“Kevin brings a cool factor to the area,” Burnett said. “There is no question that him being in the neighborhood helps. He could live anywhere in the city and yet he's chosen downtown. Imagine that taking place 15 years ago ... that's another testament to how far we've come.”