West End of Midtown is New OKC Hot Spot

Within the past few months, three new multifamily housing projects have been announced on the west end of Midtown. Its changing landscape is allowing investors, residents and new-comers to see Midtown's value.


Milhaus Development, an Indianapolis-based company, announced a $42.5 million, five-story residential complex at Northwest 10th and Shartel Avenue.


"We are focused on urban neighborhoods and are attracted to places that invest in themselves," said Co-Founder and Vice President of Development for Milhaus, David Leazenby. "When Milhaus explored cities for its expansion, it became clear that we could help advance some of the goals in downtown and Midtown Oklahoma City. We seek areas with growing employment, good government and leadership, good park systems, good school systems and multi-transportation options. Indeed, it is rare today that a vision for urban living is coupled with the public investment and infrastructure on the scale of MAPS. All of the checkboxes hit for us when we consider Midtown Oklahoma City."


Mode Development is developing Lisbon Lofts at Northwest 9th and Shartel Avenue. The lofts will be three-story buildings with a modern layout and include seven for-sale condominiums. Lisbon Lofts will offer unique open floor plans that allow residents to define their own space and emphasize natural light.


Midtown Renaissance Group is developing 1201 North Francis Avenue into a 43-unit, four-story apartment building. The plans feature covered parking, walk-ups and gallery style corridors. 


Rendering of Milhaus Development of 10th and Shartel Avenue, courtesy of Downtown Design Review Committee Agenda.
Mode Development rendering of Lisbon Lofts at Northwest 9th and Shartel Avenue, courtesy of Mode Development Facebook page

Rendering of 1201 North Francis Avenue by Midtown Renaissance Group, courtesy of Downtown Design Review Committee Agenda.
Progress Made on John W. Rex Elementary School 

Progress continues to be made on the downtown John W. Rex Elementary School. The charter school, located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, is scheduled to open at the start of the 2014 school year on a parcel of land purchased from the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority (OCURA). The school will eventually serve up to 500 students from Pre-K to 6th grade. Funding for the school was made available from MAPs for Kids program, tax increment financing and private donations. 


John W. Rex Elementary School construction
Alliance Staff Attends Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting in Chicago

Project Manager Dustin Akers attended the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Fall Meeting in Chicago earlier this month with a group from ULI Oklahoma. The four day conference had over 6,000 attendees and brought together people from all sectors of real estate development and from cities all over the world.


One of Akers' favorite sessions at the conference was a panel comprised of the mayors from Portland, Indianapolis, Memphis and Honolulu. Each mayor discussed their city's use of public-private partnerships as a city building tool and covered topics including the importance of citizen involvement in projects, how development agreements were used along the modern streetcar in Portland to spur economic development and why an affordable housing strategy is needed to create a thriving urban core. 


"The mayors discussed many issues and projects in their cities that are similar to what we're doing here in Oklahoma City," said Akers. "Learning how these communities used public-private partnerships to create dynamic downtowns will be beneficial for the work we do at The Alliance." 


Panel discussion during ULI
Ambassador Hotel to Open Soon in Midtown

The historic Osler building in Midtown will soon open as downtown's newest boutique hotel, part of the Ambassador Hotel Collection. Project Managers Cassi Poor and Dustin Akers recently took a tour of the development with ULI Oklahoma. The redevelopment of the building included using historic tax credits. The developer stated the project would not have been financially feasible without historic tax credits. The project also received tax increment financing support in a $1.1 million package that included three properties in Midtown. Expected opening is March 2014.

The historic Osler building
Project 180 Resumes with Package 6A
Construction for Project 180, an initiative redesigning downtown's streetscape, resumed late last month starting with Package 6A near the SandRidge Energy Headquarters. The City plans to use different project management methods moving forward to minimize disruptions. Construction will be coordinated in smaller sections, requiring the contractor to complete each before moving on to the next. 
To better protect pedestrians, concrete barriers with graphics will be used instead of cones and flags. New contracts will also include incentives if projects are completed ahead of schedule and disincentives if projects are delayed. Project 180 is paid for through tax increment financing resulting from the construction of the Devon Tower ($125 million), General Obligation Bonds passed in 2007 ($40 million) and the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust ($11 million). The most up-to-date information and expected downtown street closures can be found on the Project 180 website.
Project 180 Package A is highlighted yellow
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The Alliance was created in 2011 to better serve the economic development needs of Oklahoma City.

With its collaboration with city and private entities, the Alliance acts as a "one-stop-shop" for businesses in need of assistance from the public sector.

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