Eli Berry envisions an apartment complex that isn’t quite like anything else available in Enid. Plans may not be drawn up yet, but they are in motion.
“There’s not a similar project right now,” the Enid-based developer and apartment manager said. “There’s not one that’s been developed like it, there’s not one to my knowledge that’s in conception similar to what I would like to see.”
Berry recently earned approval to rezone a pair of properties adjacent to 30th and Oklahoma, near Northern Oklahoma College Enid and Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid, allowing for construction of apartments.
Enid Development Alliance, LLC, of which Berry is a part and which is behind the upcoming housing complex, has owned the properties for more than a decade.
Besides years of pondering what to do with the properties, and months spent on legwork and research, the rezoning effort is the extent of progress made so far.
With so much still solidifying, Berry can’t say with much detail how complex will look, and any renderings still are well away from being done.
“I’ve looked at projects in Fort Worth, I’ve looked at projects in Marquette, Mich., focusing on areas that happen to be around universities,” Berry said. “Although, students are not our target market, we’re more along the lines of university employees.”
Joining the professors at the new market-rate apartments might be mid-level professionals working for Koch Fertilizer or at the industrial park, he said, adding a few Vance Air Force Base airmen would be just as comfortable.
Part of what makes the proposed complex unique is the demographic it’s meant to serve, Berry said.
Ward 3 City Commissioner Ben Ezzell agrees. He’s excited to see new construction in his ward but said the new housing will benefit the whole of Enid, not just his part of town.
“We don’t have a lot of higher-density housing on the east side,” Ezzell said. “We don’t have a lot of higher-density housing in Enid, period.”
Most aren’t flush with cash, and many don’t meet the guidelines for low-income housing, but still, the town isn’t overflowing with options for middle earners. Often, the few options available are overpriced for what the renter gets in return, he said.
When it comes to attracting talent, this isn’t doing Enid any favors, Ezzell said.
“When we are recruiting professionals for jobs or … when we’re recruiting for anything really, we take a hit,” he said. “You come to town and you do the Enid tour and you look at the options available if you move here, and the options are mediocre and expensive. It’s a barrier.”
Mid-range housing isn’t as available a commodity as it should be, he said, adding the new Enid Development Alliance project won’t fix that, but it will help.
Some residents near to the site aren’t as enthusiastic and have voiced concern with the city over the potential for noise and traffic and over the uncertainties that can come with new neighbors.
“Any concern is valid,” Berry said. “I understand neighbors that have lived there a long time, and it’s been a long time since anything has really been built in that area.”
Berry is open to hearing their worries and criticism, promising to factor all input into the site plan.
“While nobody has called me directly, I would sit down with any of them tomorrow and have a cup of coffee and talk to them about this project,” Berry said. “I understand they don’t want to be disturbed, and it’s a big change, but we’re looking forward to working with … our neighbors, and we think this is going to benefit everybody.”
Story provided by Enid News & Eagle
Written by: Mitchell Willetts