NICHOLS HILLS — With space at a premium in Nichols Hills, it was only natural that 5 acres along NW 63 between Pennsylvania and Grand avenues would attract attention.
“I've been watching it for about 25 or 30 years,” said Mark Dale, a builder-developer and Nichols Hills resident, with a laugh. “I even took a pass at it once years and years ago.”
He was rebuffed, though, and so were many others over the years. Marjorie Sue Green Bleakley, the widow who lived in the house there, wouldn't even entertain the idea of selling the property.
“She knew if she sold, she'd have to relocate,” recalled Kanela Huff, whose real estate office sits across NW 63 from the Bleakley property. “She didn't want to relocate.”
It was once a larger parcel, Huff said, split between Bleakley and a sister. “But the sister sold her part off a long, long, long time ago,” Huff said. After Bleakley died in 2009, though, her sons — who both live out of state — put the property up for sale.
“I called the first day the ‘For Sale' sign went out,” recalled builder Kelly McNitt, whose office is nearby. “I called on it within a few minutes.”
But he deemed the price too high at the time, and once another developer waded in, McNitt decided to step aside.
More than three years later, though, he and partners Jim Loftis and Jack Golsen are developing lots on that land, moving forward Glenbrook Park — Nichols Hills' first new neighborhood in a decade. The trio have stepped delicately through the exacting process with city leaders and residents, guided by Kanela & Co., which is marketing the lots.
Loftis, an architect who lives in Nichols Hills, said he observed the process with the first developers and took mental notes. “I thought surely there's a way to resolve this,” he said. “I just think that way. I'm an architect, a planner.”
He was right. The partners are on the brink of selling lots in a lightened-up plan that eased residents' concerns about both density and traffic. The plan includes 14 lots, compared with 18 in the plan that the city denied, as well as cul-de-sacs joined by a wide greenbelt. Loftis said he hopes Glenbrook Park residents will mingle with their neighbors on the greenbelt.
“That's what we have throughout the community anyway, and this would add to that flavor,” he said.