Monarch to rise in Mid­town

4-story of­fice build­ing will fill ‘miss­ing tooth’ on Robin­son

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - BUSINESS - BY STEVE LACKMEYER Busi­ness Writer slack­meyer@oklahoman.com

Mid­town Re­nais­sance Group, which has been fo­cus­ing on smaller in­fill over the past cou­ple of years, is re­sum­ing new de­vel­op­ment with plans set to build a four-story of­fice build­ing along Robin­son Av­enue.

The part­ners, Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg and Chris Flem­ing, own dozens of res­i­den­tial, re­tail and of­fice prop­er­ties in Mid­town with ma­jor de­vel­op­ments in­clud­ing the Twelve Twelve Build­ing, the Guardian Garage, Fassler Hall, Plaza Court, the Packard Build­ing and the Buick Build­ing.

Con­struc­tion of “Monarch,” 1133 N Robin­son Ave., is ex­pected to start next month with com­ple­tion by April 2019. Clagg and Flem­ing say the ad­dress has the ad­van­tage of be­ing a half block from an OKC Street­car stop and is within walk­ing dis­tance of an ar­ray of restau­rants and shops.

“If you’re in the Cen­tral Busi­ness District, it could take 15 min­utes from your of­fice to get out of your park­ing garage be­fore you’re even on the road to drive to your des­ti­na­tion,” Clagg said. “Mid­town is only a cou­ple of streets away from the CBD, but that 15 min­utes turns into two or three min­utes. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. It’s very walk­a­ble while still be be­ing driv­able.”

From the ashes

The new build­ing will be built on a va­cant lot that for sev­eral decades was the site of a man­sion that was once home to Guardian Fu­neral Home. Mid­town Re­nais­sance bought the prop­erty and then sold it to a group that was plan­ning to re­de­velop to be­come home to the Ok­la­homa Foun­da­tion for Di­ges­tive Re­search.

That plan ended when the build­ing caught fire a few days be­fore Thanks­giv­ing in 2008.

“Some home­less people were in there try­ing to keep warm,” Flem­ing said. “All that was left was a garage in the back and it was a charred skele­ton.”

Mid­town Re­nais­sance re­pur­chased the prop­erty in 2011 and has used it for park­ing ever since.

“It’s been two to three years that we’ve been talk­ing about the site,” Flem­ing said. “We did some did some plans and we liked the di­rec­tion the project was go­ing. We worked with a cou­ple of ten­ants that got us ex­cited, but things hap­pened with those po­ten­tial ten­ants so we had let it drop.”

A ten­ant is now com­mit­ted to one of the four floors, enough, Flem­ing said, to start the project. He added the de­vel­op­ment group has long wanted to in­fill the large gap between what is now the Guardian Garage to the south, home to apart­ments and Garage Burg­ers, and the Art Deco Stryker of­fice build­ing to the north.

“It’s sat dor­mant,” Flem­ing said. “It’s just used for park­ing and we feel like there is the abil­ity for there to be park­ing and a build­ing on the site.”

‘True ur­ban feel’

The 54,00-square-foot build­ing will con­sist of glass, steel and ma­sonry con­struc­tion with a twos­tory park­ing struc­ture to span a por­tion of the block go­ing west from Robin­son. Space for a sec­ond, fu­ture build­ing, is be­ing re­served on the west side of the block that will act as a book­end to the park­ing.

The build­ing is de­signed by ar­chi­tect Brian Fitzsim­mons and will be built by Lingo Con­struc­tion. Fitzsim­mons said the build­ing is de­signed to fill “a miss­ing tooth along Robin­son” and pro­vide “a true ur­ban feel to the street.”

Fitzsim­mons said the build­ing at ground level starts out with a white steel fa­cade that will be at the same height as the Guardian Garage and Stryker build­ings. The top two “glass box” floors, mean­while, will have a slight set­back from the street.

“It will feel like the same pat­tern for pedes­tri­ans,” Fitzsim­mons said. “It feels as if you are walk­ing down a cor­ri­dor with two-story build­ings.”

The park­ing, about 200 spa­ces, is ex­pected to ac­com­mo­date Monarch ten­ants and those pa­tron­iz­ing the Garage Burg­ers and other ad­join­ing busi­nesses.

The Monarch is the first build­ing built ex­clu­sively for of­fice space by Mid­town Re­nais­sance, which has pur­sued mixed use at most of their larger de­vel­op­ments.

“We don’t want to di­lute where we have re­tail on Walker and then move the cen­ter of that to Robin­son,” Flem­ing said. “It wouldn’t be good for any­body, ex­ist­ing ten­ants and new ten­ants. We have two ex­ist­ing restau­rants al­ready on this block and when you think about the park­ing de­mand for that and then all the restau­rants added in the neigh­bor­hood, it’s one of those things that is not high on our radar to do on this site.”

Flem­ing would not iden­tify the ten­ant signed up for the build­ing, but he added the lease is enough to al­low con­struc­tion to get started.

“Hav­ing a ten­ant for part of the build­ing is help­ful,” Flem­ing said. “In Ok­la­homa, it’s very hard to lease a build­ing that is not built. You’re bas­ing a build­ing on ren­der­ings or plans. Hav­ing a ten­ant al­lows us to build a build­ing that isn’t 100 per­cent spec­u­la­tive and one we want to see built for move­ment to con­tinue in the neigh­bor­hood.”

[REN­DER­ING BY FITZSIM­MONS AR­CHI­TECTS]

The Monarch Build­ing at 1133 N Robin­son Ave. starts with a two-story white steel and glass fa­cade with a two-story “glass box” above that is set back to give pedes­tri­ans the feel of walk­ing down a street lined with two-story build­ings.

[REN­DER­ING BY FITZSIM­MONS AR­CHI­TECTS]

The Monarch Build­ing, 1133 N Robin­son Ave., will fea­ture a de­sign that tran­si­tions to a mod­ern re­flec­tion of the Art Deco Stryker build­ing to the north.

[PHOTO BY STEVE LACKMEYER, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Sur­face park­ing and an empty lot have stood as the only rem­nant of the former Guardian Fu­neral Home that op­er­ated at 1133 N Robin­son for more than a half cen­tury be­fore it closed in the early 2000s. The build­ing was lev­eled by fire in 2008.

[REN­DER­INGS BY FITZSIM­MONS AR­CHI­TECTS]

A park­ing deck con­nected to Robin­son Av­enue via a drive un­der the sec­ond floor of the Monarch is ex­pected to pro­vide am­ple park­ing for ten­ants and visi­tors to nearby Mid­town Re­nais­sance build­ings.

A drive un­der the sec­ond floor of the Monarch Build­ing with a drop off lane is part of a de­sign in­spired by sim­i­lar build­ings more preva­lent in Europe.

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