Two development groups with very different visions are bidding to acquire land owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Authority surrounding the historic Page-Woodson school in northeast Oklahoma City.
New Page LLC., led by developer Ron Bradshaw, already owns the school and is seeking to build 464 residences on the 12 acres at NE 4 and Kelley Avenue. Bradshaw proposes paying $900,000 for the land. He also wants to apply for $950,000 in tax increment financing to reconstruct the street grid on the site so that High Street and Stonewall Avenue can be extended to NE 4, and NE 5 can be connected to Kelley Avenue.
“The accessibility of these blocks to these particular areas are very unique and provide opportunity for a development in which people are within close proximity to active living and working environments,” Bradshaw wrote in his proposal. “Street parking and sidewalk improvements are implemented to create a pedestrian friendly community and promote walkability.”
No such reconstruction of the street grid is envisioned in the competing proposal by Cincinnati-based Miller Valentine Group, which seeks to build 122 apartments and 20 town homes on the site with gated alley access, surface parking and greenspace areas between the complexes.
Miller Valentine proposes completion by late 2016, does not mention any request for tax increment financing, but also proposes paying nothing for the land.
Calls to Miller Valentine Group were not returned Friday afternoon. The development would be led by Brian McGeady, based in Cincinnati, and Chris Applequist, who is based in Dallas. The company’s residential construction division would build the complex, which would be designed by Oklahoma City-based Bockus-Payne.
The company’s proposal indicates it began developing affordable housing in 1993, and has built, owned and/or managed 12,500 residences, including 6,000 affordable housing units in 15 states.
Bradshaw’s partners include son Jason Bradshaw, and three veterans of prior efforts to redevelop the Page-Woodson school – Gina Sofola, Marjorie Young and Don Smitherman. Butzer Gardener Architects of Oklahoma City and Smith Dalia Architects, which is overseeing design of the Journal Record Building, are to oversee the project’s design. The contractor is set to be Lingo Construction, also of Oklahoma City.
Bradshaw said the designs included in his proposal are conceptual, adding he is striving to visit with neighbors and ensure the development compliments the surrounding eastside neighborhoods and preserves the school’s legacy among the community and the city’s African-American residents.
“Since we started developing downtown, we always saw there was a surprisingly very little residential housing in this neighborhood,” Bradshaw said. “We also realized that a large part of the ground was owned by the Urban Renewal Authority. We sensed it was going to be that way until the Page-Woodson school came on market or it would be sold by Oklahoma City Public Schools.”
Bradshaw said the group plans to create 65 residences in the school, and to preserve the 800-seat auditorium.
Bradshaw added his group is talking with the community on ways to commemorate the school and its history, including plazas with monuments in community space throughout the development.
The Page-Woodson development area is one of two major redevelopment projects involving former schools being contemplated in the John F. Kennedy neighborhoods east of downtown.
Donald Dillingham and Oak Hills Private Equity LLC. is planning to redevelop the former Dunbar Elementary as 40 independent senior living apartments.