A Los Angeles group that purchased downtown’s Sycamore Square Apartments last winter is embarking on a plan to convert two-bedroom units to one-bedroom units and build an addition that will increase the complex from 59 to 160 residences.
Rohan Gupta, managing director of GFO Properties, said work is already underway to convert the complex’s two-bedroom, 1,280-square-foot apartments to one-bedroom units sized 555 to 685 square feet. At the same time, the owners are reconfiguring existing surface parking to include more angled parking and replaced large grassy medians with more spaces.
Those spaces will be needed before the owners start work later this year on a new three-story building on the southeast corner of the property at Robert S. Kerr Avenue and Dewey Avenue. He estimates the approximately 60-unit building will represent a $6 million investment.
Gupta said the changes involve converting what was designed as a very suburban complex into a more dense, urban housing development. The project is also catercorner to the Civic Center Lofts set to be built on a surface parking lot this next year by developer Ron Bradshaw.
“It’s a good piece of land,” Gupta said. “You’re right off of Walker Avenue, south of Midtown, next to the Civic Center and near the Myriad Gardens, so it’s a great solid location.”
Sycamore Square was started as a condominium development, with the north half built in 1982 and the south half built in 1985. The south half was converted into apartments after the project went into foreclosure during the 1980s oil bust.
Gupta said some early test apartment conversions to smaller units are proving popular with the market.
“We feel demand for this type of product has not been met,” Gupta said. “No one is really doing this. The lack of smaller studio apartments (in downtown Oklahoma City) is pretty glaring.”