Automobile Alley Renovations Cruising in High Gear

Article excerpt

Renovations are in high gear in Automobile Alley, along Broadway from NW 4th to NW 13th. Four buildings are under renovation, and a construction contract will soon be awarded for a $1.7 million street scape program.

"Broadway is going to be unrecognizable in about 18 months," said Jay Swearingen, executive director of the Automobile Alley Main Street Program. "With four buildings under rehab, new street trees and lights, it will look like a totally different street."

The organization just reached the $5 million mark in reinvestment in the district, including new construction, building purchases, renovations and public improvements. 701 Redevelopers plans to buy the former C. R. Anthony Co. headquarters building at 701 N. Broadway. The deal is expected to close soon. The group, made of Precor Realty and the Walker Co., plans a full renovation of the building, which will be leased as office and retail space. Precor Realty also is renovating the Hudson Essex building at 825 N. Broadway and the neighboring building at 815 N. Broadway to Class A loft office space. The buildings have been gutted, and renovations should be complete in about six months. Chris Salyer is renovating the fire-damaged St. Nicholas Hotel building at 900 N. Broadway. "He is securing the building, putting the shell back in good shape and doing tile work back on the front," Swearingen said. "The interior will be built to suit for whoever the tenant is." Salyer is also renovating the Pierce Arrow building at 800 N. Broadway, to be occupied by ADT Security Systems. UMB Bank plans to build a drive-thru location at the corner of 5th and Broadway. The bank's plans were approved by the North Downtown Design Review Committee. "It will be the first new completed new construction on Automobile Alley in many, many years," Swearingen said. "Our district is so wide and so varied, just about any business that comes and says we're looking for space, we can find them a space. We have 25-foot storefronts, multi-story buildings and vacant land." Plant a tree AmeriCorps' Project Family Tree will plant 300 trees in city neighborhoods between now and October. Trees are available to be planted in three areas: from NE 23rd to NE 59th between Martin Luther King and Kelly, from NW 7th to NW 23rd between Classen and Pennsylvania, and from the North Canadian River to SE 29th between Interstate 35 and Shields. Residents must commit to caring for the trees for three years and may choose from bradford ornamental pear, Oklahoma redbud, red oak, bald cypress, Chinese pistache and lacebark elm trees. For more information, call project director Dale Haworth at 499- 0000. …