Developer Renovating Office Building in Oklahoma for Aerospace Industry

Dec. 9--MIDWEST CITY -- The former Oklahoma Journal building could soon be a hub for the aerospace industry.

Real estate developer Joseph Atkinson said he's renovating the old, two-story newspaper building at 7430 SE 15 with the hope that a company in the aerospace industry might be interested in renting the space.

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The building was constructed by Atkinson's grandfather, W.P. "Bill" Atkinson, in the early 1960s. The newspaper shut down in 1980, and the building later was used for several years by the state Department of Human Services.

The 35,000-square-foot building has been vacant for about three years, Atkinson said.

Atkinson's company, Dominus LLC, purchased the building from his grandfather's company. Atkinson's many other real estate ventures haven't allowed him time to start the project until recently, he said.

Construction crews have spent the past three weeks gutting the interior of the building, architect Michael McCoy said.

McCoy said the design for what would be called the Journal Professional Building includes decorative lighting, landscaping and electrical wiring to handle modern office equipment and computer systems. Vibrant colors, aluminum fixtures and wood panels will make the clean-line design unique, he said.

The renovation will complement the redevelopment of the Uptown Plaza at SE 15 and Key Boulevard., across from the Journal building.

The first phase of the renovation for the 1960s-built Uptown Plaza started about six weeks ago. Like the old Journal building, the structure was gutted so that it could be completely refurbished, McCoy said.

McCoy said the 200,000-square-foot shopping center is a multi-phase project with about one-third of the building under construction right now. Modifications were made to the parking lot to help with modern traffic flow and landscaping and sidewalks are part of the design to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Atkinson said the Uptown Plaza will be a mix of office, retail and restaurant space. He hopes to have the first phase occupied by late spring, he said.

Billy Harless, Midwest City Community Development Director, said redevelopment in the area known as the Uptown District is a ripple effect from the booming development of retail businesses along NE 29, adjacent to Interstate 40.

Harless said property owners, like Atkinson, are reinvesting in their properties, because they see growth occurring all around them. He said Midwest City has the population to support new development.

"We can keep people working and shopping here and bring in more," Harless said. "It's definitely time to capitalize on it."

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