It’s been an … odd week. It’s been a long week. Not all is well at City Hall. Not all is well with Project 180. Worked much of the week with a bad cold. Then there was the devastating news of Pulitzer Prize winner and loyal Oklahoma City hometown boy Anthony Shadid dying in Syria. Yet there’s much to celebrate. Much that is going well. Oklahoma City is, in many ways, blessed.
So what do we need to look forward to next week?
We now know that the mysterious operators of “Exhale,” the restaurant? club? bar? planned for NW 15 and Broadway have withdrawn their application for ABC (alcohol zoning) at next week’s Planning Commission. Is the development dead? Don’t know, but wouldn’t assume anything.
Another building is threatened. Apparently the successful transformation of funky old buildings along NW 23 by the Good Egg Group and the “taco twins” isn’t enough to convince the owner of the old Hemi’s Pizza at 1007 NW 23 to fix the place up and lease it again. The Urban Design Committee is being asked by the owner, Monireh Mohamadi, for permission to raze the building with no plans for putting anything in its place.
The building has been empty for a few years, and a lack of TLC has left it a bit too obscured for anyone to appreciate what’s behind the overgrown trees, brush and debris. But assistant planner Paul Ryckbost did some research and determined there’s definitely a building worth saving. He’s recommending the demolition be denied. Paul asked my help in finding a historic photo of the property. I search Oklahoman archives, Retro Metro OKC archives, but found nothing. I know that Paul did extensive research as well. And it was that research, which turned up that this property was first opened in 1958 as the home of Richard Lee Portrait Studio, that allowed me to find out how the building originally appeared when it opened:
The owner, for those of you who might be wondering about this sort of thing, lives in a $1.6 million mansion in Nichols Hills.
Gotta wonder…. can we get a competition going between Keith and the taco twins to make this their next great eatery on NW 23? When this owner or his representatives show up at the Urban Design meeting (3 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall) and argue there is no hope for this property, no one wants to lease it, will anyone show up and show otherwise?