Nichols Hills is being gentrified…

nichols hills

I guess the downturn in the Oklahoma economy hasn’t been bad for everybody.

Earlier this week, a local energy industry executive announced he’s demolishing an entire block of Nichols Hills rental properties to make way for a fancy new luxury home division. The Oklahoman has all the details:

A blighted street in Nichols Hills will give way to a tight enclave of million-dollar-plus homes after energy executive Tony Say tears down 23 ramshackle rent houses he owns on Cumberland Drive.

Say leads an investor group that will turn the long-neglected street just north of Nichols Hills Plaza into a neighborhood called Cumberland Court. The street, about 800 feet long, extends from N Western Avenue west to Avondale Drive.

Say said the small houses, most of them built in 1946 or 1947, will start coming down in February and that 23 lots will be offered for custom upscale homes by select builders who will follow set architectural standards.

“We’re not going to dictate to the owners what they can build,” he said, but it “has to be within a certain architectural style.”

Whew, that’s a relief. It’s about time they tear down all those “ramshackle rent houses” that people call homes. Wouldn’t it suck to live in a slum where all the homes are valued over $200,000:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 2.58.06 PM

Seriously, I hope these relocated ramshacklers are able to find a more appropriate part of town to call home. We can’t have those $200,000 rent houses lowering Nichols Hills property values.

This new neighborhood, which I think is called “One-Percentville,” seems pretty cool. For example, residents will have a concierge service to take care of all those demeaning, time-killing, monotonous tasks that rich people are apparently too good for:

Cumberland Court will offer residents concierge service for dry cleaning, dog-walking and other errands; sidewalk access to Nichols Hills Plaza; and other conveniences, Say said.

Entry will be from Avondale only; vehicle access to Western will be closed, but there will be a pedestrian gate, said Say, who is president of Clearwater Enterprises LLC.

“This exclusive development will offer residents an urban living experience, with the security of a private neighborhood and the convenience of sidewalk access to Nichols Hills Plaza and other Western Avenue businesses and restaurants,” he said. “We are looking forward to providing a high-end, exclusive urban living environment that is unique to the Oklahoma City metro area.

“It takes a street that has not been kept up for many years and turns it into a masterpiece.”

You know what would be a nice, generous act?  What if they hire the people who currently lived in the ramshackle rent houses to serve as part-time concierges? They could probably use the extra money to cover their moving costs and all that fun stuff.

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35 Responses

  1. As a Realtor, I’m curious about a whole block of houses in this price range are rentals. What’s the rent? Surely the owner is making money on property this old, many times over. Seems a shame, yet raises more questions to me.

    1. He would buy a home, rent it out, and keep repeating this until he was able to acquire all 23. Renting them simply provided an income stream during the acquisition process which is now complete.

      1. Think of buying up all properties in the “Green” Group in Monopoly (Pennsylvania Avenue to Pacific Ave). Not like they’re transforming Baltic Ave.

  2. This street is “blighted?” With homes averaging 1/4 mil each? It’s this guy’s business what he wants to do with the property he owns, but it sure exposes the difference between “us” and “them.”

  3. People owning property and doing what they want to with it. The nerve!

    1. Yeah, kind of like a non story to me. I guess it’s more cause he said 200k home street was blighted and ramshacked. Also cause he’s an oil exec. If the homes are blighted it’s because he rented out an entire street and didn’t keep it up.

      All the same Nicols Hills is kind of weird. You have shacks next to mansions.

  4. Looks like 23 lots at $250K avg, generating a monthly rental income with expenses and headaches, OR the same 23 lots at $1.5 mil and up each, put the $ in your pocket and walk away. If they’ll sell, it’s a no brainer. Hmmm, an investor putting his own $ on the line and taking a risk. To quote John “the nerve”!

    1. I think more than anything it’s the characterization of the street as “blighted”… A casual look down this street thanks to Google Maps Street View honestly doesn’t find one house that looks blighted or ramshackle. They all look to be in quite good condition – some almost immaculately kept. Sure, the houses are old, but calling this neighborhood “blighted” when these small old houses are worth a quarter million each is nothing short of intellectually dishonest. At the end of the day, you bet it’s his property to do with as he pleases. But wouldn’t it be a whole lot better if he wasn’t lying about his reasoning?

      1. Exactly, there is nothing offensive about buying up property for a redevelopment. I commend them for doing this the proper way instead of via eminent domain. What is offensive is the description of a nice looking, well kept older street as ramshackle and blighted, as if anything less than a million dollar home is a barely livable hovel. Is it not possible to market these lots without insulting 99.9% of the rest of the city? Does instilling a feeling of class superiority in potential buyers add some sort of ‘monocled asshole’ price premium? And most egregious is why does The Oklahoman parrot this dishonest assessment, is this a news article or a paid advertisement?

  5. Between the demo work and new construction, the number of paid man hours for the non-1% this project will create is shameful. Those damn rich people creating jobs.

    As far as the renters are concerned, they’ll move. That’s what renters typically do. In my lifetime, I’ve lived in 2 apartments, 3 rent homes and 2 owned homes. Moving out of a rent house is not a big deal…..

    1. That is my adult lifetime.

  6. I live in a ramshackle rental on the next street over. Three houses on my street are currently under construction (2 new, 1 remodel/add-on). My house is definitely showing it’s age, but it still has another decade of decent life in it without needing major repairs. My landlord told me that the Cumberland development will be building an 8′ brick wall all the way around to keep out the riff-raff. I think I’m most sad about all of the established trees that will be removed to make way for this construction.

  7. You couldn’t pay me to live in Nichols Hills! Who wants to live in a “town” where the speed limit is 25 to 30 mph? Also, there are far too many panhandlers who congregate just down the street from Nichols Hills.

    If lived in that “town”, I would petition for a 20 foot concrete wall to be built around the “town”, and I would want armed guards patrolling the perimeter. They need to worry more about the ghetto that surrounds their Shangri-La.

    1. Why the quotation marks around town. Is this some sort of clever insult? Hey Nichols Hills you’re not a city, you’re a “town”.

      1. I think it is because NH is more of a giant neighborhood than a town.

      2. looks like someone is easily offended…

        1. Not at all offended…Just curious to the meaning. That’s all. I don’t want to miss a good zinger.

          1. Sorry NW Highway, no good zingers. I just don’t view Nichols Hills as a city, let alone as a town. That’s why I put quotation marks around “town”. I guess I could’ve put an asterisk.

            * Nichols Hills: a fancy two square mile subdivision that wishes it was a town.

            1. Really? If I “paid” you to live in the nicest area of town, you’d say no because of the speed limit? Jesus.

            2. The thing is, SRSLY, I’m not sure if it’s the nicest area of town. There are no stores around there that I would feel safe shopping at after dark.

  8. Bravo! Soon I shall know whence to ask a person on the street for some Grey Poupon shouldst I ever run out whilst touring about in the Bentley.

  9. Did the developer use eminent domain to acquire the property? Were any of the structures listed as “historical”? Is Aaron Tuttle ready to move in once complete?

    Not sure where the injustice is.

    At worst, this becomes the location of the real-life Stepford Wives.

    1. Eminent domain is not even an option with private development, only public. So no, this did not involve eminent domain.

      1. Whoops, posted my comment before I realized that your question wasn’t a serious one. My mistake!

    2. Most of these properties were bought a few years prior to Chesapeake building up, and was intended to be used by them for some purpose we weren’t made aware of. A company I work for sold them one of the homes for upwards of $500k USD.

      Aubrey McClendon did a great job of wasting money so future (past-present) layoffs would be ‘necessary’.

  10. When I read the article in The Oklahoman and hit the “blighted street in Nichols Hills” and “long-neglected street just north of Nichols Hills Plaza” I choked and spit milk out of my nose.

  11. ^^ Is TLO still a satirical blog?

  12. Psh I’m more mad at the pussies who will be buying these. Be wealthy like an adult and buy a home in north Edmond. Waterloo and proof of income or GTFO!

  13. Not a big fan of shoehorning a McMansion into a tiny lot.

  14. Nichols Hills is a separately-incorporated municipality with independent government, police force and fire department. Their speed limits are similar to OKC. Tony Say didn’t receive government money or use eminent domain powers – he bought houses one by one, and the prices went up as people realized what he was doing. He was granted a street closure at Western – you’ll find the same thing in many places across Oklahoma City.

  15. Granted a street closure at Western? How long until NH is granted a street closure for Penn?

    1. A street closure “at Western”, not a street closure “of Western” – closing the street that accesses onto Western.

  16. bad post

  17. Just give me my Trader Joes.

  18. Wonder if the guy will qualify for a tax credit for rehabilitating this “blighted” area?

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