Six-story mix of apartments, offices and retail planned for prominent Deep Deuce corner
A $22 million, six-story mix of apartments, retail and offices is being proposed for one of the last large development sites left in Deep Deuce.
The stretch of land along the southside of NE 3, extending east from Walnut avenue, consists of divided ownership with the middle section purchased in 2013 from OIC by developer Richard McKown and the east and west parcels owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority.
McKown, who developed the nearby LEVEL and Mosaic apartments and OKSea retail and offices, was the only one to respond Tuesday to an Urban Renewal request for proposals for its middle parcel. By combining the three parcels, McKown hopes to build a dense mix of 127 apartments, 4,250 square feet of retail and offices on the long vacant corner.
“We knew that Urban Renewal had the smaller piece to the east, and we knew they had the larger piece to the west,” McKown said. “It made sense because of what we learned building Mosaic in that a building that size could fit on that half block of real estate.”
The site lines up with McKown’s first Deep Deuce development, LEVEL, and with Mosaic to the west of LEVEL. The new proposed project’s name is LEVEL East.
“When we were thinking on how we could build Mosaic and operate it out of LEVEL with leasing and maintenance, and it was just one operation, and then the OIC property became available, we immediately thought when time is right and when urban renewal puts out a request for proposals, we could end up with a LEVEL west wing and east wing and we could nicely complete the neighborhood,” McKown said.
If the LEVEL East proposal is approved by the Urban Renewal board, McKnown estimates construction will take about two years because of the time it takes to build underground parking. Unlike LEVEL and Mosaic, both built with stucco facades, the LEVEL East façade will consist of white brick.
“We love the idea it’s still in the language of LEVEL and Mosaic but it’s a completely different building,” McKown said.
The project is being designed by London-based Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, continuing a partnership between McKown and the firm’s associate director, Wade Scaramucci. Once again, the pair were challenged with steep changes in grade.
“There is quite a bit of slope across the site,” Scaramucci said. “The challenge is to deal with parking in an intelligent way, so we’re doing that making use of the site, its slopes and streets in a more intelligent way.”
While the development would rival only the nearby Aloft Hotel in height, Scaramucci said his team designed with the open courtyard and pool facing the historic Calvary Baptist Church next door, which was renovated several years ago and turned into the home of the Dan Davis Law Firm.
“It’s a building we have an affinity for, and it’s historic in its own right,” Scaramucci said. “Setting the building back was appropriate. And it also brought plenty of light into our property.”
More than 20 years ago, Scaramucci was a student at the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture when a vision by his team of how to develop the then blighted Deep Deuce won a design competition by the area’s longtime investor and developer Craig Brown.
And when McKown and Scaramucci started work on LEVEL, the area between the BNSF Railway viaduct, Walnut Avenue, NE 1 and NE 4 was still mostly vacant and run down. Now the area is home to a grocery, restaurants, shops, offices, housing and a hotel.
“We’ve been working in Deep Deuce for quite some time,” McKown said. “This gives us the opportunity to conclude some of the work we’ve been doing the past 10 years in Deep Deuce of bringing residents and businesses and bringing people back to downtown.”