By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Plans to redevelop a historic building in Midwest City took another step forward.
J Lou Properties LLC is planning to redevelop the former Oklahoma Journal building, 7430 SE 15th St., and surrounding properties into a mixed-use development that will include multifamily housing, retail, and office space.
The city council recently approved plans to rezone property as a planned unit development and mixed-use overlay. The property currently zones as R-6 Single Family Residential, O-1 Restricted Office, and C-3 Community Commercial.
The Oklahoma Journal building will be the centerpiece of the project. The building will be retrofitted for multifamily housing and commercial space.
A three-story building will be built to the west of the Oklahoma Journal building. Two additional two-story buildings will be constructed near Key Blvd. and Wilson Dr. on what are now surface parking lots.
The office and retail space will be located on the first floor of the development with the residential space above. The project includes space for 1-and-2-bedroom apartments. They will be leased at “market rate” according to the developer.
Billy Harless, community development director, said residents raised questions about the project during the planning commission meeting on Aug. 11. Those include questions about a fencing around the development and greenspace in the development. Harless said the developer agreed to maintain a fence separating the development from neighboring residential properties and increase greenspace especially spaces for pets. He said the developer is also working to acquire an additional lot on the southwest corner of the area.
The planning commission recommended the zoning request for approval.
The Oklahoma Journal building opened in 1954. Midwest City founder W.P. “Bill” Atkinson started the Oklahoma Journal in 1963 and published the newspaper until 1979. The building was renovated in 1996 and in 2012 but has been vacant for several years.