Historic building in Oklahoma City gets 21st century upgrade

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A historic building in Oklahoma City is getting an upgrade to fit in with the 21st century.

“So where we’re standing right now used to be a Model T Ford assembly plant and then for many years, it was the Fred Jones Company where they re-manufactured Ford engines,” Craig Greenberg, president of 21c Museum Hotels, said.

In fact, this 14,000-square-foot space was still used by the Fred Jones Company until renovations started on the building.

The Fred Jones building is 100-years-old, but is now being turned into a hotel, museum and restaurant.

Now, the historic building is in the hands of  a couple who started their mission to revitalize buildings in Kentucky.

“They were committed to revitalizing downtown Louisville, Kentucky through contemporary art just as we’re doing in Oklahoma City, where we’re trying to revitalize the western edge of downtown Oklahoma City,” Greenberg said.

The hotel and museum cost $55 million, which is being paid for with private and historic tax credits.

It also allows the building to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Most of our projects that we’ve done to date, we’ve restored historic buildings and the opportunity to have the contemporary art juxtaposed with the great historic fabric of these buildings, we think creates a wonderful environment,” he said.

The hotel utilizes the original windows and columns from the old assembly plant all throughout the space, even in the Mary Eddy’s restaurant.

The art gallery is free for visitors and features rotating art, including a labor and materials exhibit that will be on display until March 2017.

“We have some specific curated commission pieces like the one behind me that are permanent pieces just for 21c Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City and then the rest of our public art spaces is a true contemporary art museum,” Greenberg said.

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