Plans advance for eight-story mixed-use tower next to new convention center, Omni hotel
The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority on Wednesday approved a redevelopment agreement to sell the corner of E.K. Gaylord and Oklahoma City Boulevard to developers planning to build an eight-story apartment and retail tower.
Boulevard Place is to be built by Rose Rock Development Partners next to an 1,100-space garage being built by the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority. That garage will serve residents at Boulevard Place, the convention center being built to the south and a 17-story Omni Hotel rising up to the west.
The purchase price is set at $2,461,000, or approximately $43.54 per square foot, and will be paid just prior to construction starting. Those proceeds will be collected by the Urban Renewal Authority and then transferred to the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust.
Cathy O’Connor, director of the Urban Renewal Authority, told her board the site is clear but work is ongoing with the former owner, OGE Energy Corp., to remove any remaining debris on site and complete environmental cleanup. Construction is set to start on 240-unit Boulevard Place by September 2020 with completion in late 2022.
Steven Watts, CEO of Rose Rock, said the retail level is 75% preleased with plans for a Primrose School day care and preschool and a letter of intent signed for a 6,700-square-foot restaurant. The number of apartments designated for workforce income housing, meanwhile, has increased from 30 to 36 units.
Housing affordable at workforce level, which is defined as 80% to 120% of median income, was suggested in the request for development proposals for the property along with a day care. Executives at Omni were among those asking for housing at an affordable level for employees at their 605-room, 17-story hotel.
The push for workforce housing coincided with voters passing a general obligation limited tax (GOLT) bond issue for $10 million in affordable housing assistance. O’Connor said the project, however, will likely include tax increment financing assistance instead.
“We did look at trying to obtain affordable housing or more affordability in this project with GOLT money set aside,” O’Connor said. “Because of density of project, the cost of materials, the steel used in construction, better to see other money rather than what is going to be used for affordable housing.”