Some of Oklahoma City’s Most Popular Neighborhoods
Bricktown is an entertainment district located on the east side of Downtown Oklahoma City. Before a recent renaissance, the area was a warehouse district that had begun to get run down. Today, it is bustling with restaurants, dance clubs, live music venues, upscale retail shops, and offices. Top attractions include the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and a navigable Bricktown Canal, both the result of the city’s MAPS projects.
The Bricktown Canal stretches one mile (1.6 km) through the district toward to a new park past the Oklahoma Land Run Monument. When completed, the Land Run Monument will be a series of 77 giant statues stretching over an area the size of two football fields on the south canal, and will be one of the largest sculptural monuments in the world.
Lower Bricktown (a newly constructed area south of existing warehouses) boasts a brand-new 16-screen movie complex run by Harkins Theaters, a Bass Pro Outdoor World, a Toby Keith ‘I Love This Bar and Grill’ theme restaurant, a Red Pin Bowling Lounge, and several upscale retail establishments and restaurants. The Centennial on the Canal is Bricktown’s first new residential construction, and contains three levels of high-end condos with retail on the canal and street levels. The area also includes the corporate headquarters of Sonic Drive-In and a six-story Residence Inn.
The brick buildings of the district were created between 1898 and 1930 to aid in the freight operations by the four major railroad companies that used the area. Oklahoma City’s first black newspaper, the Black Dispatch was officed in Bricktown at 228 E. First, along with the first local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Deep Deuce, located directly north of Bricktown, ignited the downtown urban housing boom in the late 1990s with the Deep Deuce Apartments. The area consists mostly of low-rise apartment buildings and various formerly vacant mixed use buildings. Deep Deuce was once the largest African American neighborhood downtown in the 1940s and 1950s and was the regional center of culture and jazz music. Bands such as the Count Basie Orchestra, the Blue Devils, the Charlie Christian Band, and others resided in this downtown neighborhood. It is also noteworthy that Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was rejected for an executive position at the Calvary Baptist Church in Deep Deuce for being “too young.”
Much of the original neighborhood was bulldozed to make way for the I-235 Centennial Expressway in the late 1980s. While the area was neglected during the 1990s, the downtown renaissance has made the area attractive to developers, despite how little remains of the neighborhood’s earlier character and architecture. The first phase of The Triangle (a large masterplanned community between Bricktown, the elevated railroad tracks, and I-235) is the Brownstones at Maywood Park, which includes three- to five-story brownstones over several blocks of Deep Deuce, along with a park and a large sculpture. Also in the construction or planning phases are several other residential developments, including The Lofts at Maywood Park, Block 42, The Hill, Central Ave. Villas, and Flatiron Lofts. The area is also home to the Oklahoma City campus of Oklahoma Baptist University. All these newly developed properties have rental prices a minimum of 150% of the average income per capita of the populace of the state.
Midtown is the area roughly bounded by 4th Street to the south, I-235 to the east, 22nd Street to the north, and Pennsylvania Avenue to the west. Central Midtown is the area south of N.W. 13th Street, and north of 6th Street between Robinson and Classen. Like much of the inner city, Midtown is also experiencing a renaissance of its own as the city cleans out the blight and decay and replaces it with upscale urban amenities.
In the inner city, there are lots of heritage conversions and new construction projects under construction and proposed. Central Midtown is the area around N.W. 10th and North Walker. A number of new housing developments and numerous heritage building conversions where abandoned hotels and retail structures are being renovated into upscale condos, lofts, and apartments are taking place and announced seemingly each week. It is hoped that this synergy will create a dynamic new near downtown residential neighborhood that will attract the hip creative class to the inner city. This area includes the historic Plaza Court building, St. Anthony Hospital, and the SoSA neighborhood.
This Midtown neighborhood (also known as “A-Alley” for short) along Broadway Avenue in Northeast Downtown was a popular retail district in the 1920s and was home to most of Oklahoma City’s car dealerships. The area declined with the rest of Downtown in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, there is a considerable effort to turn Automobile Alley into Oklahoma City’s newest upscale urban neighborhood. Efforts to redevelop the area will transform the showrooms and storefronts of Automobile Alley into upscale lofts, galleries, and offices.
The latest addition to the up-and-coming district is Red Prime Steak, an upscale modern eatery designed by renowned architect Rand Elliot. The restaurant is housed in a former Buick dealership and prominently features red neon and LED. Also in the area are many of downtown’s earliest churches along Robinson Ave. (known as “Church Row”) in Midtown, the flagship store for the CD Warehouse chain, and the downtown YMCA, which had to be rebuilt following the bombing of the Murrah building.