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Sycamore Square in downtown Oklahoma City halts conversion of two-bedroom apartments

Downtown Oklahoma City apartment complex Sycamore Square will keep two-bedroom units after its ownership group confronted surprise costs.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: August 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: August 7, 2014

A plan to convert two-bedroom apartments to one-bedroom units at Sycamore Square is being put on hold, and tenants who thought they would have to find new homes are being welcomed to extend their stay.

Rohan Gupta, lead partner in the ownership group that bought the apartments earlier this year, said the conversion of six units was a success — but unexpected costs may make further conversions unlikely.

“The first set of six we did was a test set,” Gupta said. “We wanted to see how they would play in the market. The small unit was leased right away. That gave us confidence doing the overall project. But then we looked at the overall cost and risk. And one thing we didn’t feel good about and will limit our ability to split is (that) we have to put in a full fire suppression system.”

The fire suppression systems, expensive to install, do not translate into an amenity that will add perceived value for potential tenants, Gupta said. At the same time, the market for larger, family friendly units was just beginning to become evident with the opening nearby of the new John W. Rex Elementary.

“We can keep a majority of our units as they are as two bedrooms and redo them very nicely,” Gupta said. “I don’t think anyone really understood how many family style houses were needed. We had six townhomes, and five non-traditional two-bedroom units.”

The change, Gupta said, also allows for a chance to “smooth things out” with remaining tenants who had expressed unhappiness with previous plans not to renew leases for the two-bedroom units. Clint Cowan, a downtown attorney, moved into the complex last December to ensure his son could attend the new school.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist 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 Metropolitan...
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