Old bricks and mortar click with HomeWetBar.com in Oklahoma City

Keith Winter, president and CEO of HomeWetBar.com, said he deliberately chose a 60-year-old warehouse in Oklahoma City's Santa Fe industrial district, and a more difficult route, for the good of the property and the good of the inner city.
by Richard Mize Modified: July 7, 2012 at 12:05 am •  Published: July 7, 2012

HomeWetBar still specializes in bar accessories. Cast-iron speedboat nutcracker paper weight? Gas pump retro liquor dispenser? Stainless-steel wall-mounted bottle opener and cap catcher set? Contour warming cognac and brandy glass? “Simple Class Whiskey Glass set”? Got 'em.

But it also offers items for pools and patios, kitchen and dining and theater and game rooms.

GreatGiftsForMen has a wider selection of gift items and offers shopping “by personality” (“corporate maverick,” “funny guy,” “geek,” “grill master,” “hipster,” “manly man,” “the intellectual,” and others) and “by manspace” (home, man cave, office, outdoors).

‘New life' for old site

Winter paid $608,000 for the old warehouse, which is in a neighborhood of old warehouses in the Santa Fe industrial area north of the Capitol, in a deal handled by brokers Randy Lacey and Caitlin Dempsey of Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort. He's spending at least another $150,000 to renovate the 60-year-old building.

Why not go new? His new old place has 14-foot ceilings, not the 22-foot clear height he's used to; it has a loading platform, not the docks and grade-level door he used to, or the dock-high loading bays of newer places; and it has other features that make it almost functionally obsolete for most users of industrial space.

Further, most of the renovation cost is for adding the office space the old warehouse lacks — and that required a zoning variance because that usually requires more parking — in addition to upgraded electrical wiring and new lighting.

“We looked at a lot of buildings with him,” Lacey said. “He was open to a lot of buildings that made sense. He saw this as a blank canvas: ‘I can make this into what I want it to be.' What he's doing is just breathing new life into that building.”

Winter said he deliberately chose the old warehouse bones, and a more difficult route, for the good of the inner city.

“I think the easy thing would be to build on the outskirts of the city where the land is cheap, or get a warehouse out there with some of the real modern conveniences, with the real high ceilings or a million dock doors,” he said.

“But I thought this would be a really neat building to renovate and kind of bring back to its former glory, improving the area and also improving kind of the community around it in Oklahoma City.”

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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