OKC Central News Round-Up
Let's try something new. I appreciate that our lives are busy, and those of us interested in what's going on downtown do our best to keep up with the latest news. But each Friday the OKC Central Live Chat starts out with folks wanting more context and information (which is perfect for these chats) and those who get lost not having read what has already been reported.
So each Thursday night I will endeavor to provide a recap of the previous week's news.
- Controversial Deep Deuce Development Halted: This one didn't totally surprise me. The ownership from the very start kept their identities a secret. Was this their first attempt at downtown development? I am told the answer is yes. And it showed.
Walnuts LLC bought the 94-year-old former school board building at 400 N Walnut Ave. in August for $1.62 million and hired Colorado-based Venture Architecture to draw up plans to convert it into housing and offices. McNitt Construction tore out the steps and entry leading up to the building, but stopped demolition when The Oklahoman inquired with the project's engineer, Tim Johnson, about a lack of a permit.
Johnson, a veteran engineer with extensive experience working on downtown development projects, encountered a city staff and Downtown Design Review Committee demanding an explanation. He apologized while insisting he didn't know the identity of the property owner on whose behalf the apology was issued.
When the Downtown Design Review Committee unanimously signaled plans for the property, including eliminating the building's historic facade, were in conflict with design ordinance guidelines, the project went into perpetual delay. I had the story on Tuesday.
- Plaza Pioneers, Oklahoma City Developers' Success Came at a Cost: You know you've been around a while when you can say you remember when ... Jeff and Aimee Struble were newcomers in the 16th Street Plaza District. They're marking 10 years in the district and after reflecting on their work this past decade, we looked ahead at their next projects, a new two-story retail and office building and a converted old apartment building that will be home to a new restaurant and office space.
-Downtown's Oldest Bar Closes, May Reopen. Yep, the Neighborhood Lounge, last known as the So Fine Club, went dark last week. The property has a new owner and it may not stay empty for long.
- Rocktown Set to Reopen with New Operators, New Name. Behind the scenes, I'm hearing this is one ugly, ugly situation.
- 7th Haven: Owners of the Fit Pig Eatery Plan Development on NW 7. Wait a minute, you say you've not heard of The Fit Pig, the newest eater to open on Automobile Alley? Who is this ambitious young couple who are just a month into opening their restaurant and now plan to build a shipping container development across the street?
This looks like a pretty cool project - here are some additional images and plans for the project:
And wait, there's more!
Brianna Bailey has bad news quickly turned into good news concerning the historic Milk Bottle Building at NW 23 and Classen.
David Morris visited with Jill DeLozier, communications queen at Downtown OKC Inc., about all the cool events going on as part of Downtown in December. (video)