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Lease on life


With past lives as a car dealership and tavern, a historic Midtown building makes a comeback.

Kelley Chambers May 2nd, 2012

George Washington never slept there, Elvis never left the building, or even entered for that matter, and it’s definitely not the House that Ruth Built.

While the structure at 201 N.W. 10th known as the Packard Building may not be one of Oklahoma City’s storied edifices, it is now poised to become a Midtown retail and office destination.

Once a car showroom, the 1925 building sat idle and largely boarded up for years, save for its time as Pat’s 10th Street Lounge advertising its pool, cold beer and music on the exterior.

Anthony McDermid, an architect and chairman of the Automobile Alley Association, stopped in Pat’s one hot summer day in 2008 when he was working on a building up the street. He recalled with a laugh his first foray into the Packard Building.

“There were three other customers who appeared to be regulars, and they were all pretty hammered,” he said. “For the longest time, I thought they were just sleeping.”

McDermid said he is excited about the overdue renovation.

“Anything would have been better than what was there,” he said, “but they are doing an outstanding job and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.”

In 2006, MidTown Renaissance, led by Bob Howard, purchased the 38,000-square-foot building as an investment for future development. But other projects took priority over the Packard until last year.

In addition to leasing the building, Howard is taking advantage of a flat roof for a patio.

“It’s about 3,000 square feet and it has flowers, irrigation, a bar and built-in bench seating,” Howard said. “We’re going to lease that out for functions. It has an absolutely gorgeous view.”

Tenants moving in over the next few months include Global Risk Services Ltd., a Chicago-based commercial insurance company, and Wine & Palette, an art studio and bar.

Walk into the building’s lobby now — through an entryway formerly covered in aqua blue boards that served to enhance the tenebrous ambience of Pat’s — and a renovated lobby with red concrete flooring leads to an elevator and first-floor office tenant Vitol.

Recently relocated from Tulsa, Blueknight Energy offices on the second floor, which includes original exposed bricks and concrete flooring, along with 1920s-replica furniture.

Anh Weber, an interior designer who worked on the building, said despite years of neglect, the brick and its concrete accents are rock solid.

Work is set to wrap up at the end of May.

 
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