Hart of Gold
Community Development Program | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
In 1945 when the Hart Building was constructed, its neighborhood, Film Row, was home to offices for major Hollywood film studios like Paramount Pictures and MGM. It was one of 37 film districts across the country that helped get the word out to theatre owners about new films by hosting showings of the latest movies. By the 1960s, new technology and transportation options led to the demise of these film exchange areas.
“In the early 1980s, the Film Row neighborhood was blighted,” explained Chip Fudge, the developer of the Hart Building. “There were no street lights and many buildings were boarded up. We bought our first property in that area in 1994 seeing the potential.” The OKC Film Row has experienced a resurgence in recent years and is one of the last ones standing in the U.S. with nearly every building still intact. Much of this is due to the vision of Fudge’s company, Film Exchange Row, LLC.
Chip’s financial partner along the way has been NBC Oklahoma. “They agreed to finance some of my initial project and have been there for my commercial, real estate and family business ever since,” Chip said. “I won’t bank with anyone but a local banker and really appreciate my relationship with NBC Oklahoma.”
Even with their strong relationship with Chip, NBC needed to be competitive on rate to secure the Hart Building project. “We knew that with the size of this project, a ½% could make a big difference,” said Toni Nance, vice president of NBC Oklahoma. They had heard about Community Development Program advances from FHLBank Topeka and decided to find out if Chip’s project would qualify.“Although I know we could have kept our relationship with Chip, we couldn’t have secured this particular project had it not been for FHLBank. The CDP was the perfect fit,” said Toni.
Thanks to the affordable funding, Chip completely refurbished the inside of the building while keeping the art deco charm outside. The Hart Building is home to his company as well as a small café and KOSU, the National Public Radio station for Oklahoma State University. Chip’s projects have led the way in the Film Row neighborhood spurring economic growth and bringing some of that movie magic back to Oklahoma City.
Commons on Classen
Affordable Housing Program Grant | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
“People want to be there.” That’s the explanation Roland Chupik, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services in Oklahoma City, gives for why Commons on Classen is completely occupied. The project opened its doors July 1, 2017, and was completely occupied by November.
Downtown Oklahoma City hadn’t seen a new affordable housing development in decades. Commons on Classen gives seniors access to midtown stores and restaurants within walking distance. In the not-so-distant future, it will be only half a block away from the new trolley system.
A convenient location isn’t the only thing Commons on Classen has going for it. The Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma named the project a finalist in its Annual Impact Awards in the small-scale development category. The awards honor projects that represent the best practices in land use and development.
Another aspect of Commons on Classen that Roland is proud of is its diversity. “Our residents represent a wide range of ethnicities, marital statuses and backgrounds. It’s a cool community and one I like to stop by and hang out in,” he said.
To make Commons on Classen a reality, NHS worked with BOK Financial, to apply for an Affordable Housing Program grant. They were awarded a $750,000 AHP grant in 2014. “BOK Financial is very proud to have sponsored the AHP grant which assisted in making Commons on Classen possible,” said Lisa Albers, SVP. “It is very satisfying and rewarding when many parties come together to provide much needed affordable senior housing.”