Bricktown warehouse set to begin a new purpose

Published: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 7:00 am By: Steve Lackmeyer

The Oklahoman

One of Bricktown's oldest properties is undergoing the transformation from a warehouse to offices and retail as Standley Systems looks to make the building its new Oklahoma City hub.

The company, celebrating its 75th anniversary, is based in Chickasha but has offices in Oklahoma City, Duncan, Lawton and Ardmore. The company bought the former Melton Lab building, 3 E Main, in 2006 at auction for $940,000.

"We looked at other buildings here in Bricktown," said Tim Elliott, president and chief executive officer. "There was one down the street I really wanted, but they wanted too much money and it has to be torn down."

The 35,000-square-foot building was home to Melton Labs for at least a quarter century, and Elliott said the business was still using the building for storage and offices when it went up for auction.

The warehouse was built in 1903 and for decades it was home to Carroll, Brough & Robinson wholesale grocers. The operation continued through the 1940s after it was bought by what would become Fleming Foods.

Elliott is amazed at the impressions left by the wholesale grocery, including depressed pathways in the wood floor where carts were wheeled to loading docks.

The building was originally two stories tall with a third added in later years. The brick facade was covered with stucco sometime before the 1980s, and the new owners were unable to undo the changes.

The gray stucco has, however, been replaced with a red color scheme. The contractor, Traditional Development Group, also has replaced the windows.

Elliott said he envisions leasing the second floor to office tenants and finding a restaurant to operate on the first floor. He also is looking at showcasing some of the building's history, including old carts from days when the building was still used as a wholesale grocery.

He estimates the renovation will cost about $3 million.

Randy Cleaver, project supervisor with Traditional Development Group, acknowledged the project has gone through some delays.

The wood ceiling on the first floor shows fire damage from years ago and Elliott hopes to preserve an old tile mosaic floor at the building's entrance.

"It's easier to deal with than a metal building because with wood, you can do anything you want," Cleaver said.

"It doesn't look that great, but it is in great condition."

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