Three groups are competing to redevelop the former Oklahoma City Public Schools Administration campus, which consists of multiple historic buildings nestled between the Metro Park Neighborhood and Midtown.
The developers include a group led by familiar preservationist; Far Wespen, a New York investment group that has spent the past several years acquiring blocks to the east of the campus; and Carpathia, a partnership between Ross Group and Nelson+Stowe of Tulsa.
Carpethia's proposal focuses on the former Roosevelt school, the main building at 900 N. Klein Ave., with plans showing a a mix of retail and dining anchored around a hotel. The plans show a nearby former elementary that is part of the campus being cleared for service parking.
The Far Wespen proposal, meanwhile, would convert the Roosevelt school into housing and amenities and would clear the ancillary buildings on the campus to building housing for retired teachers. The plan also includes a garage with a rooftop plaza that would connect via a pedestrian bridge over Western Avenue to more development set to happen on Far Wespen land that will include senior housing, retail and offices.
The Ellard proposal would restore each of the historic buildings on the campus with adaptive reuse as housing. Ellard's past work inlcudes the Sieber in Midtown and the former Sunbeam campus in Heritage Hills.
Cathy O'Connor, director of the Urban Renewal Authority, worked with Oklahoma City Public School administrators to oversee development proposals to ensure the campus becomes an asset and not a blight to the surrounding neighborhoods. School administrators will be involved in reviewing the proposals.
The school administration moved out about two years ago. O'Connor said she hopes a developer can be chosen later this year.
"I'm glad we got three. I'm glad we have competition of uses proposed," O'Connor said. "This is 900 N. Klein, which itself is large, has a surface parking lot behind the building, as well as two more surface parking lots and a smaller building south of the 900 N Klein that was one of Oklahoma City's original elementary schools."