Rand Elliott Restoring Heierding Building

By Harvey, Betty Jane | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 5, 1994 | Go to article overview

Rand Elliott Restoring Heierding Building


Harvey, Betty Jane, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Journal Record Staff Reporter

Rand Elliott is working from photographs of the former Heierding Brothers Meat Co. building at 35 Harrison Ave. to restore it to its original design of 1911 so he can move his offices back downtown.

Elliott purchased the building in 1991 from John Belt but has put off work on his own project in favor of clients and their needs. He and his staff set a goal during a brainstorming session in October 1993 to get the building designed, renovated, restored and moved into in time for a 1994 Christmas party, he said.

He is currently in the preliminary design stage, but is working on a concept that will combine restoration with modernization, creating a showcase of the work that Elliott Associates Architects is capable of doing.

"It's going to be very much a modern space. It's going to be very open; lighting is really the most important driving element in there. We're going to manipulate lighting and do some really interesting things with it," Elliott said.

Elliott's firm was originally in the central business district in suite 710 of the Hightower Building in 1976 but moved north to a 2,500-square-foot portion of a 13,000-square-foot building it was constructing for a client at 6709 N. Classen Blvd.

During the oil boom in the early 1980s, an oil company that had offices on the 10th, ninth and eighth floors of the Hightower Building was ready to expand to the seventh floor, so Elliott and his firm needed to move from their office to make room, he said.

"So we actually ended up moving out of downtown, certainly not by choice but by circumstance, and we've been here 10 years, or close to it.

"I've always wanted to be downtown. I've always had this yearning to be back down there. Over the years I've gotten to be good friends with John Belt. He has an interest in architecture and he owns The Paseo and has a number of very interesting buildings around town.

"I took a chance and called John one day and said: `You know, I've really been wanting to figure out a way to get back downtown, and I know you own the Heierding building and I would love to talk about purchasing that from you,' and his first reaction was: `It's really not for sale,' " Elliott said.

It took him about a year to convince Belt it would be a good idea to sell the building.

"Finally, what he said to me was: `I don't normally think about selling my real estate, but I think in this particular instance, you're the perfect person for this building,' and I think what that was telling me is he has a real appreciation for properties and things around," Elliott said.

The building is on the `V' of the intersection at NW 5th St. and Harrison Ave. Belt bought the building in 1976 to keep Urban Renewal from tearing it down. He went through the application process in order to get the Heierding Building on the National Register of Historic Places.

Two brothers, Fritz and August Heierding, were German immigrants who came straight to Oklahoma. They had a meat company when they were in Germany and continued it in Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma City they initially lived in a building across the street from the site where they would build the structure to house the meat company and their new living quarters. 1911 is the date cited for when the facility was built. Heierding Brothers Meat Co. operated at 35 Harrison Ave. until 1969.

"They gave Oklahoma City a rare jewel, and we happened to be here at the right time. We are beholden to John Belt for stepping forward and capturing it from demise, and we are very fortunate to be the stewards, and I really believe that we are the stewards of this building. Our intention is to give it new life and to allow it to perpetuate and go on, and someone hopefully will take it from where we leave it," Elliott said.

When Elliott purchased the structure there was some publicity on the transaction, and August Heierding's son-in-law contacted Elliott. …

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