City council approves loft apartment project in historic downtown building

August 29, 2015

Mack Burke and Sarah Kirby
The Norman Transcript

The building that housed Blair’s Furniture since 1973 will be getting a makeover. Developer Jim Adair, who has a penchant for turning historic buildings into trendy loft apartments, won approval from city council Tuesday to transform the building into a mixed-use facility with six loft apartments upstairs and a to-be-determined restaurant tenant downstairs.

“My son and my daughter and I all have a passion for downtown Norman. We spend most of our days on Main Street and we’ve been familiar with the property for a long time,” Adair said. “We’re really excited about this building. It really lends itself to loft apartments and it will give us the opportunity to do smaller apartments that we’ve not been able to do in the past.”

Adair and Associates already have five other loft apartment locations on Main Street, but downtown housing is still limited and in high demand. For that reason, loft development is something city council is eager to get behind. The approval was unanimous.

“This is an item that I’m personally really excited about,” city council member Stephen Holman said during Tuesday’s meeting. “I had the opportunity to take a tour of the building with Mr. Adair and the upstairs really is amazing. It’s like a time capsule of Norman’s history.

“Living in downtown Norman is in pretty high demand. There aren’t very many apartments downtown. They’re pretty much always full year-round. Some of them have a waiting list to get in. So, I’m excited to see another one of these come along and hopefully we’ll get some more in the near future.”

Adair is familiar with the process and what it takes to renovate a building that was built around the time of the World War I.

“Any time you’re playing with a 100-year old building, you’re going to run into construction constraints, and we have quite a few here,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, the upstairs has not been occupied for any use for the past 60 years. We’re looking at a very expensive remodel up there.”