McDermid said the alley side will serve as a main entrance for the larger shops, with a second story addition allowing for potential rooftop dining.
“What's exciting is the opportunity to punch holes in the alley walls and activate the north side of the building so it can relate to the off-street parking.”
The shopping center will span 40,000 square feet once the renovation is complete. Russell said he already has enough interest from restaurants and traditional retailers to more than fill the building, and he is trying to sort through prospective tenants to create what he hopes will be the right mix to draw pedestrian traffic from surrounding neighborhoods.
The shopping center will be called “The Rise” to reflect what Russell sees as the positive direction of NW 23 between the Capitol and OCU.
Russell credits his interest in the project to previous investments in the area by restaurant operators Keith and Heather Paul, who own Cheever's and Tucker's and who recently bought and are renovating the former home of Tull Overhead Door, 3110 N Walker Ave.; Chris Lower, who helped make the strip trendy with the addition of Big Truck Tacos and Mutt's (a specialty hot dog eatery); and Mike Tharasena, who worked with architect Brian Fitzsimmons in turning some aging bungalows into the 23rd Street Courts (home of Cuppies and Joes, Bubba's Barbeque and other shops).
“This area is on the way up,” Russell said.
“Their success has made a project of this magnitude possible.”