A law firm housed along Automobile Alley is looking to start construction this summer on a three-story office building that will represent the first significant private investment in the area known as Core to Shore.
Core to Shore, an area stretching from the Oklahoma River to downtown, is being targeted for redevelopment by the city and will be home to a new park and convention center. The redevelopment effort was triggered by construction of the new Interstate 40, which opened last year.
Tim Heefner, a partner in Goolsby, Proctor, Heefner & Gibbs, said the firm bought the land at 1501 S Walker Ave. in 2008 just as the Core to Shore plan was being completed but a year before voters approved funding for the park and convention center as part of MAPS 3.
“There was an old gas station and bar there that were boarded up and covered with spray paint,” Heefner said. “And there was a sign saying the property was for sale.”
The law firm is seeking to build a three-story, 13,361-square-foot office building with a rooftop conference room, fitness center and a terrace that will have a 360-degree vista of the Oklahoma River, the downtown skyline, and the future park and convention center.
The design by Mark Krittenbrink also includes an entrance facade that consists of a three-story central rotunda that spans two wings.
The building site is directly east of Wheeler Park.
The area is challenged with worn out industrial buildings and boarded-up old structures. But to the west, Blair Humphreys is designing a mixed-use development for the former Downtown Airpark. The new park will be to the east, and the historic Little Flower Catholic Church is a block north.
“We’re excited about Core to Shore and want to be part of it,” Heefner said. “We think the park will be great, and we love the boathouses.”
Pat Downes, redevelopment director for the Oklahoma Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, called the development a significant step forward in reviving the central segment of the Oklahoma River.
“We’ve seen substantial development on both ends of the Oklahoma River, with hotels at the western terminus and the boathouses on the eastern terminus,” Downes said. “The middle infill is always more of a challenge, and yet it has potential to do tremendous good.”