- Cathy O’Connor
OKC’s downtown housing mix continues to diversify
The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority recently issued a request for proposals due July 30 for residential development in a section of The Hill at Bricktown. The site, located in OCURA’s Harrison-Walnut Urban Renewal Plan Area, is available for urban residential development close to downtown, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, State Capitol Complex and the OU Research Park.
The development site consists of nearly 122,000 square feet of land and looks to welcome new families and homeowners to the area. The RFP outlines that the architectural character be consistent with the surrounding area and achieve sustainability and energy efficiency in the design and construction. Developers are asked to include a ground level that engages the streets and sidewalks to encourage pedestrian activity. The parcels of land fall within the Downtown Tax Increment Financing project area – TIF and GO bonds have been effective tools to help Oklahoma City develop the right mix of housing in downtown.
Oklahoma City has seen strong demand and interest in downtown housing and this new area for development will help to round out our inventory. A variety of housing types including affordable, for-sale residential and mid-rise development has been important to the successful and diverse mix.
Several new housing projects are being planned downtown. Alleys End, the housing project on NW Fourth just east of EK Gaylord, anticipated to break ground in the fall, is being developed by Rose Rock Development Partners and will offer over 300 units, of which at least 260 units will be affordable. Boulevard Place, the new eight-story mixed-use development immediately north of the new convention center parking garage, will add another 265 housing units and over 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Other projects under construction include First National Center Apartments, 700 West, The Sentinel and the recently completed Villa Teresa Residence.
We currently have 561 housing units under construction and 714 planned. That will bring our downtown total to 6,149 residential units, nearly 10 times the inventory we had about 10 years ago.
Our well-planned housing projects help encourage growth, walkability and vibrancy in our city. More downtown housing helps support the restaurants, retail, events and entertainment venues in downtown Oklahoma City. The RFP is available on the Alliance website.