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Construction set to start on OKC's Villa Teresa homes, hotel

Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey Avenue between NW 12 and NW 10, in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]
Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey Avenue between NW 12 and NW 10, in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]

Site work and utility relocation are almost wrapped up, and construction is set to start soon on the first phase of the $30 million redevelopment of the former Villa Teresa campus in Midtown.

Marva Ellard and partner Billy Woodring bought the historic campus at 1216 Classen Drive in 2017 for $5.51 million, ending years of uncertainty about a campus that had been eyed for demolition by developers who sought to build apartments on the block.

The 3 ½-acre campus consists of several historic buildings, all of which are being preserved into housing and a hotel. The first phase focuses on Dewey Avenue between Classen Drive and NW 12 which was a large playground until the school closed.

Ellard said Tuesday while speaking to Rotary 29 Club footings and basements were discovered during excavation of the site – debris dating back to homes that was demolished decades earlier.

Ten for-sale townhomes and seven flats are set to be built where the houses once stood.

“We’re well along in selling — we call them reservations,” Ellard said. “We have 12 reservations, and we think most of those will convert to contracts. We chose to do only 17 units because we want people to enjoy the space and enjoy living there.”

Conversion of the two large brick homes at the center of the former campus into a 70-room boutique hotel with restaurant, bar and meeting rooms, and renovation of the remaining school buildings into housing and potentially a couple of shops will follow next year with the entire development set for completion in 2021.

Villa Teresa consists of school buildings and former homes that date back to 1917. The school was started in 1933.

Prior to the purchase by Ellard and Woodring, Villa Teresa was seen as being threatened with demolition by prior owners who wanted to build apartments on the block. The campus is beloved by those whose families attended school run by the Carmelite Sisters of St. Therese until it closed in 2012.

Villa Teresa, Ellard said, “is a magical place.” One of the potential buyers, an Episcopal priest, told Ellard the property is “sacred ground.”

“Through the time we’ve been working on Villa, it seems everyone has a connection,” Ellard said. “Of all the projects we’ve worked on, there are more fond feelings for Villa than any other.”

Related Photos
<strong>The Villa Teresa campus, seen in this 2017 photo, is being redeveloped into a mix of housing and a hotel. [Encompass Media/Provided]</strong>

The Villa Teresa campus, seen in this 2017 photo, is being redeveloped into a mix of housing and a hotel. [Encompass Media/Provided]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c52a1677d69e814af6c54cb7544a4442.jpg" alt="Photo - The Villa Teresa campus, seen in this 2017 photo, is being redeveloped into a mix of housing and a hotel. [Encompass Media/Provided] " title=" The Villa Teresa campus, seen in this 2017 photo, is being redeveloped into a mix of housing and a hotel. [Encompass Media/Provided] "><figcaption> The Villa Teresa campus, seen in this 2017 photo, is being redeveloped into a mix of housing and a hotel. [Encompass Media/Provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-61db0686722dde6635540c01ce03483b.jpg" alt="Photo - Townhomes are set to be built along Dewey Avenue where a playground was once located at the Villa Teresa campus. [Fitzsimmons Architects drawing] " title=" Townhomes are set to be built along Dewey Avenue where a playground was once located at the Villa Teresa campus. [Fitzsimmons Architects drawing] "><figcaption> Townhomes are set to be built along Dewey Avenue where a playground was once located at the Villa Teresa campus. [Fitzsimmons Architects drawing] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-399ceb45cf8d6282f1aa59422f63395b.jpg" alt="Photo - Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey between NW 12 and NW 10. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title=" Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey between NW 12 and NW 10. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey between NW 12 and NW 10. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d74866dae4650fecf10a1bce4737abfb.jpg" alt="Photo - Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey Avenue between NW 12 and NW 10, in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title=" Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey Avenue between NW 12 and NW 10, in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Site work is underway for townhouses being built along the eastern edge of the former Villa Teresa School, next to Dewey Avenue between NW 12 and NW 10, in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
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 ›

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