The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 5, 2013

High-density housing will occur in Norman someday

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

High-density housing: Yes, high-density housing that makes economic sense to an entrepreneur will occur with this city council or the next or the next.

When demand for vertical housing is great enough, an entrepreneur will step up and satisfy this demand. It’s simple economics. That is how villages turn into towns and towns turn into cities. It is not a question of if but when.

Environment: Because vertical housing is good for the environment, vertical housing should begin right now. It makes perfect sense. There is less urban sprawl, less concrete and asphalt covering natural dirt and foliage, less soil erosion, less single family water and sewer connections, trash pickup, etc.

We need to address soil and water conservation right now. Instead of building out, we need to build up. When people live in high density, there are less lawns to water.

Location: People want to live between downtown and campus. Right now, drive between downtown and campus and see how many “for sale” signs or “for rent” signs you see. Very few. The market is speaking. Lawrence, Kan., is the perfect example.

If you are familiar with KU, there is not a Campus Corner. However, in downtown Lawrence, a mixed-use structure is moving toward development at Ninth and New Hampshire. There’s underground parking, 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and condos on the fifth floor.

Also, a building in the Warehouse District was revitalized as a mixed-income development. In July 2012, all 49 apartment units were leased within 24 hours of opening. It is a four-story building.

A private developer just opened a 10-story hotel (The Oread) a block north of the student union and northeast of Memorial Stadium. The Oread is located between campus and downtown.

Rice University in Houston is another example. One mixed-use, high-density structure is under construction next to Rice Village right now. Rice Village is the Rice University campus corner, which is right next to campus and in a single-family residential neighborhood. It is six stories, where the ground floor is retail and five stories are residential.

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