When I first joined The Oklahoman in 1990, Deep Deuce was no-man’s land, a once proud black neighborhood that was letting out its last gasp. The drug dealers were pretty much gone already – and just a few vagrants remained. Buildings were burned out, boarded-up, and catching fire.
Yep, that was my introduction to Deep Deuce – covering fires.
But as Bricktown thrived throughout the 1990s, it wasn’t that difficult to see how a revival of the area and few remaining old buildings might occur. And indeed it has. First with the opening of the Deep Deuce Apartments about a decade ago, then followed by the openings of the Deep Deuce Grill, Sage and Wedge Pizzeria in the old boarded up buildings. Then came in the for-sale condominiums – Block 42, Central Avenue Villas, the Hill, 2nd Street Lofts and the Brownstones at Maywood Park. Say what you may about the mixed sales success of these properties, but they have added a diversity and stability to Deep Deuce. Now we have the next wave of development underway – the Level Apartments, an Aloft Hotel, and the announcement of a Native Roots Market set to open early next year in the Level development.
Expect a coffee shop and restaurant, meanwhile, to open on the first floor of the Aloft. And despite some questionable design of the first floor of the 2nd Street Lofts, life is beginning to emerge there as well with part of the space now home to a salon.
More development is on the way – both announced (4th Street apartments by Ron Bradshaw), and unannounced (more housing, more mixed use commercial). What we end up with in the near future is perhaps the city’s first truly dense, mixed-use downtown neighborhood sandwiched between Bricktown and the central business district. (and keep in mind it ultimately extends to 4th street, so it also includes a gallery and mechanic’s garage).
All in all, not bad work. And no, I’m not aware of any plans for the streetcar system to go through Deep Deuce, nor have I heard much discussion of such.