New eight-story garage planned at Oklahoma DEQ
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is preparing to build a new eight-story garage on adjoining surface parking that will then be followed by demolition of its existing four-story garage on the west side of the agency’s headquarters.
Plans filed with the city planning department shows the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality wants to build the garage at the southwest corner of NW 7 and Robinson Avenue immediately north of the agency’s headquarters.
The 420-space garage being designed by GSB replaces the current structure that is immediately west of the headquarters and faces NW 6. In this case, the agency is seeking to tear down the existing garage, built in 1957 and not in great shape, once the new one is built … so it can create a secured 48-space surface parking lot for the agency’s fleet.
(view looking east along NW 7 toward Robinson Avenue)
I was unable to reach anyone at the agency Tuesday afternoon. The design by GSB is within the context of other new projects we’ve seen built in the area with the façade consisting of precast concrete with metal panel orange veneers used to compliment the brick in the headquarters building and perforated steel panels on the frame surrounding the street level. Upper levels, meanwhile, are decorated with anodized aluminum tubing.
The application does not explain why the agency is swapping locations for the existing garage and surface parking. But considering the physical condition of the older garage and the somewhat scattered locations of the agency’s surface parking in the area, it’s not a total surprise.
The application must be approved by the Downtown Design Review Committee. The panel along with city planners are not usually supportive of tearing downtown structures to make way for surface parking lots. But in this swap, the discussion that follows will be of interest.
The current garage dates back to when the Heritage Building across the street (previously known as the Journal Record Building) was home to Standard Life Insurance. Shortly after the garage opened, Southwestern Bell Telephone started construction on the building that is now the Oklahoma DEQ headquarters.
Photo/rendering courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society.