Over the 28 years Larry Jones has been detailing cars at the corner of NE 4 and Walnut, he has seen the area transformed from a sea of parking used by Kerr-McGee employees to a vast paved desert, and now, a thriving neighborhood that is about to slightly change his own business address.
Ron Bradshaw and Charlie Nicholas, who are building the 139-unit Maywood Apartments at NE 4 and Oklahoma, are set to start construction this summer on a 160-unit, $20 million second phase that will provide a new space for Jones' Bricktown Auto Bath & Shine. At the same time, the developers plan to restore the 80-year-old former Conoco station that has been home to Jones' detail shop and convert it into retail.
“I've seen it all coming,” Jones mused. “I started out in Bricktown one year before I moved here, and I saw that change with the canal and Spaghetti Warehouse.”
Jones said he never worried when the old Maywood neighborhood, reduced to a sea of parking by Kerr-McGee in the 1960s, turned desolate in the late 1990s.
“I still had customers downtown,” Jones said. “Bricktown was growing. It was easy to stick around.”
“That's the beautiful thing,” he added when asked about being included in the new development. “That's from the grace of God. I'm part of the community — and they want to keep me around.”
Bradshaw, one of the original developers of the Maywood section of Deep Deuce, said it was an easy call to include Jones in the newest development once the partners bought the old Conoco station.
“We are going to redo those buildings and then we're going to put on both sides additional commercial,” Bradshaw said. “It will be a mixture of the old and new. We're putting Larry in a couple of the bays of the garage. He's a wonderful guy and he is part of the neighborhood.”
Bradshaw added that keeping Jones on the block provides a service to the area's growing population and helps to create a solid row of retail fronting Walnut Avenue.
Designs by GTF Architects call for the garage itself to be two stories high, topped by four stories of apartments.
Nicholson's company, NE Development and Construction, will be the contractor. (It is also building The Edge in MidTown.)
The second phase of the Maywood Apartments is being launched as Level developer Richard McKown is set to start construction of a west and east expansion of his apartments along NE 3 at Oklahoma and Walnut avenues.
At least two other apartment projects are being contemplated for the area, which is rapidly approaching complete build-out from the BNSF Railway viaduct to Interstate 235 between NE 1 and NE 6.
Bradshaw agreed with Jones that recent changes to the area are dramatic but spaced out enough that he does not believe the neighborhood is being overbuilt.
“All of the market indications are still good — it's still very strong,” Bradshaw said. “We're building at a pace where it all can be absorbed.”