Senior Affordable Housing Proposed for West Downtown Site, OKC

Category: Development

Two mixed-use developments, one with workforce and market housing, and another that would replace existing low-income housing for seniors, are being pitched for one of the last large pieces of land owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority.

Colony Partners, which has developed an array of properties, including the 2nd Street Lofts in Deep Deuce and Page Woodson east of downtown, is pitching a mix of 138 apartments and 4,000 square feet of retail as part of its proposed $22 million “700 West” at NW 4 and Shartel Avenue.

A partnership between Commonwealth Development Corp. and Oklahoma City Housing Authority, meanwhile, is pitching a development consisting of a four-story, 132-unit senior independent living tower and a three-story, 120-unit assisted living tower, both built above a one-story podium consisting of parking, amenity space and commercial space.

Ian Colgan, assistant executive director at the Oklahoma City Housing Authority, said the new development was pursued after determining replacing the current 50-year-old low-income apartments at NW 9 and Robinson Avenue is more cost efficient than attempting an update of the aging complex.

“Given rapidly increasing land costs in downtown Oklahoma City, it is becoming harder and harder to build affordable housing for both workforce and low-income households,” Colgan wrote. “Our proposal will yield not just 250 new and affordable units at NW 4 and Shartel, but even more units at the current NW 9 and Robinson site.”

The project, which would provide 132 apartments for “extremely low-income seniors,” was approved last month for a $1 million grant from the National Housing Trust Fund.

Both groups boast experienced developers, architects and contractors, with Austin-based Commonwealth ranking 22nd among the country’s top 50 affordable housing developers.

“Affordable rental housing is in very short supply throughout Oklahoma County, with very low vacancy and waiting lists at many affordable properties,” Bradshaw wrote. “As population growth continues in the area over the next five years, demand for rental housing of all types should continue to grow, and with comparatively little new affordable housing development the need for affordable rental units will continue to grow as well.”

The two proposals mark the second time the corner has been offered for development, with a prior proposal for micro-units turned down by the Urban Renewal Authority.

The southeast corner of NW 4 and Shartel Avenue is one of the last large parcels not developed from the hundreds of parcels acquired by Urban Renewal in the 1960s and 1970s.

“We were hoping to get a project that has some component of affordable housing and meets certain density requirements,” O’ Connor said. “It looks like both proposals met those requirements at first glance. We will be evaluating them further.”

Press release from NewsOK