“KOSU is now positioned as an anchor institution for Film Row,” Burley said.
In its mid-20th century heyday, the 700 block of W Sheridan Avenue was one of 35 film distribution centers across the country, home to branches of Paramount, RKO, 20th Century Fox and other studios.
Until the past several years, the block was better known as “skid row,” a blighted stretch on the west fringe of downtown. Developer Chip Fudge bought up several of the Art Deco buildings, launched renovations and worked with the city to start a streetscape. The area is now home to an art gallery, coffee shops, screening room, pizzeria and offices.
About 500 people now work along the two-block stretch of W Sheridan, and construction is set for a two-story office building for a law firm, a tower on the Stage Center property, and a three-story school already under construction will all directly link Film Row to the Central Business District.
Fudge said the opening of KOSU brings the 40,000-square-foot Hart Building to full occupancy. Expansion and renovation of an adjoining building to the east, known as the “sliver building,” is set to become home of Butzer-Gardener Design.
With the district now hosting monthly “Premiere” art walk festivals, the latest being held Friday night, Fudge is extending his investment. He is about to start renovations on a building he recently bought west of the Hart building, and is looking to acquire more nearby properties.