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First Look at Rand Elliott's Addition to Downtown's Flat Iron Building

Let’s start with a statement we can all agree with: architect Rand Elliott is not subtle. This past year he and Chuck Ainsworth needed to work a bit with the Urban Renewal Authority commissioners before getting their approval for designs that included adding a third floor to the long-blighted Flat Iron Building at NE 5 and Harrison Avenue – amajor gateways to downtown, Automobile Alley and Bricktown.

That expansion and redevelopment is well underway, but it left a question as to what developer Chuck Ainsworth would do with the planned second phase to the east of the old Flat Iron building, and what design would be created by Elliott.

Let’s remember that the view hasn’t been that great for years. A couple of other buildings, cool old structures, were still standing on the east half of the block when I started working at The Oklahoman in 1990. They were, as we say now, victims of demolition by neglect.

So this is the view now:

What is proposed now is a seven story building that would dominate the gateway to downtown, with two floors of parking topped by five floors of office space.

It’s big. It’s bold. It also has no apparent street life, which is being questioned by RTKL, the international design and planning firm that reviews projects for Urban Renewal.

Some changes are being suggested for the Urban Renewal board, which will meet on Wednesday.



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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 ›