But what if…..
It could look like this?
In case you missed it, this is a must-see video on the Paseo. Great job done by the folks at NewsOK.
Looks like these buildings are now history. It’s not that we weren’t warned that these buildings, built in the 1920s, were being targeted for extinction. Owners tried twice to get permission to tear them down as the area’s Asian community continues to erect concrete block retail strips with cute nods to the area’s emphasis on Asian design.
On the second go-around, with the local preservation community sidelined, exhausted from their unsuccessful fight with SandRidge Energy over its demolition plans, the owners of this strip succeeded in winning approval for demolition.
On Twitter, some on are asking… was this really an accidental fire? That’s a question that awaits the fire department now. Meanwhile, let’s look back at what this block looked like. Were there really no development options with this? Sit back and discuss.
Originally home of the Oklahoma City Savings & Loan, this building at the corner of Robert S. Kerr and Robinson was built in 1928 and was within weeks of being renovated into condominiums by the Triangle group when Kerr-McGee was acquired by Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum in 2006 and the deal was scuttled.
Here’s a photo of the building’s early appearance:
The building is one of five structures being torn down by SandRidge Energy to make way for a landscaped plaza. A sixth building at 120 Robert S. Kerr will be torn down as well and replaced with a new building.
Expect the old bank building to be history within just a few days, if not sooner.
I’m not a building engineer. I don’t play one on television. And no, I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. The Hotel Marion at NW 10 and Broadway is one gorgeous building – and also a heart-breaker. The building’s owners, Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg and Chris Fleming, have shown themselves to be good stewards of the properties assembled under former MidTown Renaissance lead Greg Banta. But without any attached parking, and purchased for more than it was probably worth, this building won’t be easy for anyone to tackle.
Time, I fear, may be running short.
We’re all familiar with what the front facade looks like:
But how often do we look at the alley facade of the property?
If we look really close, we might not like what we see:
I’m not presuming the owners to be negligent or in way targeting this building for demolition. But if preservationists are looking for a way to rebound from SandRidge, some creative ideas might be needed to prevent Mother Nature from taking the Marion down. City leaders -could Murrah funds be available for this building? National Historic Trust – are there any grants that can be found?
Readers, should we even care whether the Marion is around for another decade?
It was a year ago that I first met “big twin” and “little twin” and learned about their vision for Big Truck Tacos at NW 23 and Dewey. They had originally looked at a small diner on Hudson across from the Sieber Hotel. Thank goodness the owner was asking for $1,500 a month (way too much according to many). The place wouldn’t have been big enough. The ladies instead chose an old hamburger stand, which had gone thorugh quite a demise and was last a donut shop (I think) before going dark for quite a while.
They did a top notch overhaul of the old place, and introduced life to NW 23 by daring to add outdoor seating. Some might have thought the ladies nuts for taking such a chance – NW 23 is a busy street and Oklahoma City isn’t exactly know for alfresco dining. The first week proved those outdoor seats were needed. Lines streamed out of the doors as a wildly successful social media campaign had Big Truck Tacos being talked about all over town.
This restaurant on NW 23 – “headquarters” – was supposed to be a secondary operation to the truck, but has ended up being just as much the superstar. Now don’t get me wrong – the truck is wildly anticipated whereever it goes. But one has to wonder whether this operation would have been as successful if it had opened up in a shopping center at Memorial and MacArthur. The food is great. The ladies and their crew are originals.
But is there a magic in the location? Is there a charm to this odd old building brought back to life? Do people like to congregate where they see a comeback story in the making? What role does classic architecture and a vintage urban frontage play in attracting people back to the urban core?
For the past couple of months we’ve seen most questions submitted to SandRidge Energy answered with “no comment.” The last question I submitted to SandRidge last Monday was as to whether a comment by attorney Frank Hill indicating SandRidge Energy might abandon downtown if they are blocked from tearing down six buildings on their campus has gone unanswered.
But last Thursday, as I was busy reporting on the federal lawsuit against Bob Funk and the pending foreclosure of First National Center, I received the following press release through The Gooden Group along with the image shown at the top of this post:
We recognize the passion that many have shown for the development and preservation of downtown Oklahoma City. We share this passion and appreciate the overwhelming support and enthusiasm that many in the downtown community continue to show for the SandRidge Commons master plan.
We have put forth a dynamic, well-considered urban plan promising to bring vibrancy and energy to this part of downtown and accommodate our growth over the next decades, as we add attractive corporate jobs.
We remain confident SandRidge Commons is the right thing for Oklahoma City and that it will make a significant contribution to the vibrant and thriving downtown we all desire.
Historic tax credits will be deferred for two years, but won’t be canceled out (assuming this gets the governor’s signature) I’m sure there are a lot of historic building developers very, very relieved tonight.