Developer building high-end apartments near Tinker

OKLAHOMA CITY – A local developer who has long been watching the growth at Tinker Air Force Base is constructing a high-end apartment complex to meet the needs of current and future employees.

Gardner Tanenbaum Holdings is building the 516-unit apartment complex, Liberty Creek Village, at 6929 Sooner Rd. The development was designed by Gardner Architects, which is not connected to GTH. Comerica Bank handled the financing.

The development sits off Sooner Road and Interstate 240 and is protected by a tree line from Sooner Road.

GTH CEO Richard Tanenbaum said dirt work started two months ago. The 45-building complex will be built in phases and have its first tenants by April 2020. The entire development is expected to be finished by November 2021.

“I’ve owned this land for a few years and I’ve been waiting for all the pieces to fall into place,” Tanenbaum said.

Those pieces include the city-county-Air Force joint purchase of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway land and the GM facility, where the KC-46A Pegasus maintenance facility will be operated. The new depot is expected to bring more than 1,300 jobs to the area.

Another piece that’s important to the project is the Air Force’s new B-21 Stealth Raider, which will be maintained at Tinker. There are also aerospace-related companies near the base that are on land Tanenbaum owns. He also has land in the area where more companies could locate.

The on-base housing is also about 10 years old.

The 80-acre apartment site is north of the Oklahoma Heart Hospital’s south campus, 5200 E. Interstate 240 Service Rd.

“At the end of 2015, we did a feasibility study and found that 8,500 people commute to that area,” said Cindy Murillo, chief operating officer of Gardner Tanenbaum.

Planning for the apartment complex started that same year.

Newmark Knight Frank Multifamily Investment Broker Tim McKay has worked with Tanenbaum when he wants to sell his apartments. McKay said Tanenbaum makes it difficult for outside companies to come in and build new apartments. There are several Oklahoma-based multifamily developers that watch the state’s two metros and build high-end products when needed.

McKay said he thinks housing demand in the I-240/Sooner Road area is only going to increase. The next development on S. Sooner Road will likely be more retail or services, he said.

Rents at Liberty Creek Village will average $1,100 per unit. Because GTH manages its properties, it is able to keep an eye on what amenities people like, Murillo said, which is why it will have features not seen in the market. Residents will also have drive-in garages.

The complex will have several amenities, such as a Peloton cycling studio, two resort-style pools with shaded cabanas, a dog park, and a full-size basketball court. Residents will also have access to valet dry cleaning and Uptown Grocery delivery service. Jogging trails are in the plans as well.

Since the property is spread across 80 acres, Murillo said she’s looking into contracting with a scooter company.

Ultimately, it pays to keep residents happy. It costs money to clean up an apartment when a tenant leaves.

“We rarely lose someone because they’re unhappy with the community,” Tanenbaum said. “We like the cash flow, but we like keeping our residents.”

When Tanenbaum is ready to sell, there are plenty of out-of-state investors that still see the value in Oklahoma City, McKay said. He said he did several deals with out-of-state investors in 2018.

“The exit strategy for developers in Oklahoma City is significantly better today than it was five years ago,” McKay said. “It’s off-the-charts better than it was 10 years ago.”

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