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OKC Central: Revisionist history is part of the mix in visioning Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce

Steve Lackmeyer: The rise of Deep Deuce as the first truly mixed-use urban neighborhood in Oklahoma City and how its success is partially based on a memory that isn't completely real.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: November 20, 2012
/articleid/3730247/1/pictures/1888941">Photo - MOTORCYCLE: A motorcyclist rides on NE 2nd street in the Deep Deuce in Oklahoma City. <strong>Steve Gooch - The Oklahoman</strong>
MOTORCYCLE: A motorcyclist rides on NE 2nd street in the Deep Deuce in Oklahoma City. Steve Gooch - The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City developed at the dawn of what was to become suburban sprawl and, because of that, housing never established itself downtown as it did in older cities.

Deep Deuce, however, came closest and is still a block away from the skyscrapers of the central business district. It has little resemblance to the Deep Deuce of old. Only a few structures survived the era of Urban Renewal and the clearing of land in the 1970s for construction of Interstate 235.

By the 1990s, the neighborhood was a virtual no man's land where what few buildings were left either burned or sheltered the less fortunate who didn't mind living behind boarded-up windows and doors.

A dozen years ago, a single property owner — Craig Brown — joined with a Texas developer to bring in the first housing with the Deep Deuce Apartments.

In those dozen years, five for-sale condominium projects were launched, hundreds more apartments were built, and restaurants opened in the remaining old buildings that were boarded up even as the first apartments were opened a decade ago.

Only a few vacant patches of land remain in Deep Deuce. Almost all of them, even the smallest lots, are being eyed for redevelopment. Deep Deuce is quickly becoming the downtown neighborhood people dreamed about, inspired by memories and visions of the Oklahoma City they thought was once real, and could be real again.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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