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Arts District Garage Now Open

The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, now known as EMBARK, hosted the grand opening of the new Arts District Parking Garage Tuesday afternoon.

The $24.5 million, 10-story garage at 431 W Main, between Walker and Hudson, adds 802 new parking spaces to Downtown Oklahoma City and relieves some of the parking pressure for transient and monthly parkers.

"You don't always consider a parking garage an important economic development tool, but in this case it certainly was," said Mark Beffort, commercial real estate broker with Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort. "The Arts District Garage was critical for continuing to sustain the business growth downtown. Current public and private parking systems are full to the point that existing companies aren't able to expand and grow their work force. We secured spaces for existing and new tenants to meet some of the pent up demand."

Additionally, the garage will feature approximate 18,500 square feet of useable retail space on the first floor, with all but 2,000 square feet already leased or under negotiation. The retail space will feature a coffee shop, a medical clinic for City employees and office space for several local arts organizations.

"This is one of EMBARK's first new construction projects in over 20 years," says Jason Ferbrache, director of public transportation and parking. "Our goal was to have a garage that blended parking with office and retail in a highly pedestrian environment and also complemented the current architecture in the area."

Anthony McDermid, principal of TAP/architecture, drew design inspiration from the Civic Center, Oklahoma County Courthouse and City Hall buildings that border the Arts District Garage.

"The vertical glass panels on the garage pay homage to the Federalist Deco style of the 1930s," explains McDermid. "Ours is a modern interpretation that mimics the significant vertical panels you see on those three surrounding buildings."

The garage includes LED lighting for brightness and energy efficiency and the ceilings are painted bright white to reflect light. Gates are fully automated to control operational costs.

Flintco was the general contractor. The building was poured in place, making it more structurally sound than concrete panels erected in place. More stories can be added to the garage as future development dictates.

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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author 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... Read more ›