Many years later, Hatfield is working to redevelop the old downtown Oklahoma City library, which was abandoned in favor of a newer model in 2004. Her project, which began five years ago, aims to transform the 59-year-old library into the Carnegie Centre, a collection of 19 upscale residential lofts.
Oklahoma City owned the four-story building at 131 Dean A. McGee Avenue before Hatfield won the right to buy it.
“I’m going to take something nobody else wanted and bring it back to life,” she said. “It’s the only piece of what’s referred to as ‘modern movement’ architecture still in downtown Oklahoma City. I look at it as an intergenerational project with a huge cross-section of people. It’s going to be a little community.”
Potential residents likely will include single professionals who work downtown, Oklahoma City University law students and employees or students at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Hatfield originally intended to use only private money, but the recession caused her to rethink that strategy. Now, she’s using a combination of funding sources, including her own money, city tax increment financing (TIF) totaling $370,000, and historic-preservation tax credits.
She appeared before Oklahoma City Council last month in connection with an amended joint economic development agreement that received unanimous approval.
Council members approved, provided the property’s taxable market value meets or exceeds $7.4 million after it’s completed and verification that 40 percent of the lofts are occupied.
The former library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. As a result, Hatfield has been able to secure some funding through federal and state tax credits. The only problem, she said, is a change in the tax credit system that delayed the project several months.
“I have learned so much about the process [of government tax credits],” she said. “I’ve had to learn through the school of hard knocks.”
Hatfield is getting prepped for what could be one of the premier residential buildings downtown. Thirty people are already on a waiting list. Construction on the lofts, the second-story parking garage and the first-floor retail space should take about 10 months.
Carnegie Centre will offer one- and two-bedroom lofts ranging from 725 square feet to 1,904 square feet. Monthly rent will range from $900 to $2,400. Each loft will sport the building’s original look coupled with granite countertops, walk-in closets, pantries and washer/dryer space.
“It’s going to have a very open atmosphere,” Hatfield said.
The retail level likely will include a yoga studio and an upscale barbershop. In addition, the second-story parking garage will offer 22 storage units for residents.
The Carnegie Centre is named after Andrew Carnegie, an industrialist who led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century.