By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – COOP Ale Works has announced that it will be redeveloping Oklahoma City’s historic 23rd Street Armory building as its new brewery.
The Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) recently accepted the company’s proposal to acquire and redevelop the armory, which includes restoring the building to include a hotel, restaurant and more.
“Oklahoma City is our home and we always wanted to return to the core of the city. In planning for a final home for the brewery, we wanted to find a place that is meaningful to our town and state, and gives us an opportunity to create an incredible experience,” said Daniel Mercer, co-founder of COOP Ale Works. “The Armory, with its unique history, structure and space, is the perfect fit and we believe it will become a venue that attracts visitors from across the state, country and world.”
COOP plans to purchase the 87,000-plus-square-foot building from the state for $600,000 and “return it to its former glory with updates to the interior functionality.” The exterior will be maintained to honor its original history with modern additions, including updated windows. The inside will be transformed into a brewery production floor, a full-service restaurant, and a 22-room boutique hotel, with multiple event spaces, offices and meeting rooms. In total, COOP plans to dedicate $20 million to the overall project.
The heart of the venue will be on the first floor, housing a 60-barrel, state-of-the-art brewhouse.
According to a press release, fermentation, conditioning, packaging and other production equipment will occupy the remainder of the 22,000-square-foot drill hall floor. More than 30,000 square feet of perimeter space surrounding the production floor will house brewery storage, offices, barrel aging, cold storage, shipping, receiving and more.
On the second floor, the east wing will become an 8,000-square-foot full service restaurant and taproom, with indoor and patio seating for more than 160 patrons. On the third floor of the east wing, dedicated event spaces will be available for community and private events.
A 22-room boutique hotel will include hotel rooms on the second and third floors of the west wing of the building. The lobby will be located on the west side of first floor.
The proposal also includes five acres surrounding the armory building as well as leases for two adjacent properties. The additional properties will provide parking, green space, as well as opportunities for retail and downtown living.
Development partners working on the project with COOP include Spur Design, architecture and engineering; Smith & Pickel, general contractor; Preservation and Design Studio, historic preservation consulting; and Price Edwards, real estate and leasing.
“It’s a large and complex project, but we have assembled a team of highly-experienced development partners that we look forward to working with to create an experience and legacy that all Oklahomans can be proud of,” said Mercer.
Designed by architect and Oklahoma Army National Guard Major Bryan Nolen, the 23rd Street Armory was built in 1938 as part of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration.
At the time of its original construction, it was promoted as the only armory in Oklahoma funded entirely by state funds generated from oil wells located on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds. The three-story building served as the state’s hub for the Oklahoma National Guard and the storied 45th Infantry Division.
“The unique community role the 23rd Street Armory has long played for many Oklahomans was a driving factor in seeking redevelopment for this property. We are excited knowing COOP Ale Works’ goal is to honor and preserve this history, and we look forward to the revitalization that will breathe new life into the Oklahoma State Capitol corridor,” said Denise Northrup, OMES Director.
“COOP’s plans are designed to revitalize the building, restoring it with purpose instead of repurposing it,” said Mercer. “We understand and appreciate the historical significance of the Armory. This building is filled with stories from generations of Oklahomans. Honoring them and preserving that history is incredibly important to us.”
The facility should open for business in the fall of 2020.
COOP Ale Works is a craft brewery based in Oklahoma City. Since 2009, COOP has created a core lineup of six year-round canned beers in addition to four seasonal canned beers.
Quarterly, COOP releases limited quantities of various beers from its barrel-aged Territorial Reserve series and DNR Cask-It series. The current taproom, located at 4745 Council Heights Road, is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit coopaleworks.com.