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Blighted Midtown Property Set to Become Showcase Home?

An apartment house seen as the source of crime and blight in Midtown has been cleared of its tenants and gutted by a new owner committed to restoring the structure as a single family home.

Shyon Keoppel paid $232,000 for the home at 524 NW 8 in March and is spending thousands more to clear it of years of neglect and questionable additions. It was just last fall that I was walking past the home with my trainer Ryan Vivar preparing for the Memorial Marathon 5k that I saw what appeared to be a drug deal in progress.

Until a couple of years ago, the apartment house was just another surviving flop house that seemed to forever have a banner outside the second floor advertising rooms for rent. But that banner disappeared in 2013, the few remaining windows were covered with blue-painted shutters. This was a building that definitely gave out a vibe of “if you’re not invited or here to do business, don’t bother knocking on the door.”

“It was a house originally and then it was turned into 13 apartments,” Keoppel told me tonight. “There was drug dealing and prostitution. We’re returning it to being a home.”

In just a few weeks of gutting and tearing out a front addition, the original façade of the 1920 home is emerging. Keoppel, who received quite a bit of attention for a modern home he built at 4711 N Blackwelder, has big plans for the property that include turning the home and guest house in the rear into a top notch, 5,000-foot-home with a pool in the yard.

The property is surrounded by construction of new, modern homes, and this will likely fuel additional projects nearby. The address is a short walk from Midtown’s restaurants and shops and St. Anthony Hospital.

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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 ›