No delays, Oklahoma City's Wheeler District is coming in for a landing at 'urbanism at its best'
The Wheeler District took off on time and — five years in — is on schedule.
Totally fitting for a neighborhood arising from the old airpark just south of downtown.
Developer Blair Humphreys started this from-the-ground-up demonstration of new urbanism with a stakeholder charrette, an intense design collaboration, in 2014. The five-year vision that emerged was "a small and growing neighborhood."
Done, in 2019.
It's 2020. With the builder, Wheeler Home, almost finished with Phase 1 and about to launch Phase 2, here's what planners and promoters say to expect in five more years: "a complete district."
In 40 years? "It's Wheeler, a place people love."
Wheeler Park, especially with its iconic-on-arrival Ferris wheel and unobstructed view of downtown, already was a well-hemmed part of the fabric of Oklahoma City life. For the Wheeler District, it's just now coming-out season.
"2019 was a monumental year for Wheeler District as our little urban village began to grow. It will always be remembered as the first year that we welcomed residents and families began to call Wheeler home," its promoters told Facebook followers on New Year's Eve.
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Not long ago, Realtors were given a tour. This week, it was architects, invited to inspect Terminal Commons, the 1947 Art Deco air terminal turned neighborhood gathering place.
Coming soon: The Big Friendly, a brewery and tap room. A restaurant. Retail and office space. Western Gateway Elementary School. More park space. A pool.
Promoters say Wheeler is more than a development project. They say it is "a civic and human responsibility to the people that live here."
The aim is nothing short of "urbanism at its best ... walkable, bikeable, outdoor spaces, kids playing, a community connected and thriving."
See it now, even in the dead of winter, a high-density enclave erupting from bare ground — but so far mostly along the former runway — west of S Western Avenue, south of Interstate 40 and the Oklahoma River.
Wheeler Home's Josh Kitchen said almost all of the 60 homes in Phase 1 are sold: Cottages, 800 to 1,300 square feet; Runway Homes, 1,500 to 3,000 square feet; and Estate Homes, 2,400 square feet and up.
He said Phase 2 will add 100 homes, 30 of them priced at less than $250,000. The phase will include Shop Homes, townhomes with ground-floor flex space for storefront retail, office or rental, 1,500 to 2,000 square feet; Terrace Homes, 1,800 to 2,400 square feet; and Luxury Flats, 2,400 square feet and up.
Forty years? It won't take that long. Wheeler, as promoters say at wheelerdistrict.com, is well on its way to being "OKC's next great urban neighborhood."