Commons on Classen first affordable downtown housing in decades

Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:00 am
by Steve Lackmeyer

OKLAHOMA CITY - The first new affordable housing built downtown in decades was officially opened Tuesday with more than half of its 48 units already leased.

Commons on Classen, 1320 Classen Drive, was built on the former headquarters of Neighborhood Housing Services of Oklahoma, a site Director Roland J. Chupik said was the only option for building new affordable senior housing.

“We tried to find property, but we got priced out,” Chupik said. “With the rehab of Wesley Village (existing affordable housing at 300 NW 12), and doing the marketing study for that, we learned there was a huge demand that isn't being met.”

The lack of new affordable housing downtown was not a question of demand, but rather a lack of opportunity. To make the deal work, Neighborhood Housing Services donated its aging three-story headquarters, which was torn down to make way for the new housing.

“The roadblock we ran into was ‘not in my backyard,'” Chupik said. “When you talk about affordable housing, it has context of negativity. We have a facility that will stack up next to any market-rate housing with amenities that people over 62 want.”

The location is within walking distance of the future streetcar, close to Homeland grocery and adjoins a mix of shops, restaurants and attractions in the thriving Midtown neighborhood.

The project, developed by Belmont Development and built by Hixon Construction, features four efficiency, 350-square-foot apartments, as well as one-bedroom units starting at 580 square feet and two-bedroom units ranging up to 800 square feet.

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