Old National Guard Armory gets historic status to help reinvent the space

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - As the rust sets in and the dust settles, it's hard to imagine the old glory days of the Oklahoma National Guard Armory.

Built in 1938 during World War II, the armory was the home state national guard.

"The 45th Infantry Division has a very chronicled history throughout World War 2 and the Korean War and really learning what this place meant to so many people coming in and out,” CEO and Co-founder of Coop Ale Works Daniel Mercer said.

But people stopped coming through these doors in the mid-2000s. That is until Coop Ale Works put out a request for proposal to buy the 87,000 square foot building.

"Brewing requires a lot of physical space and this armory building has a giant atrium we're standing in here. It's 22,000 square feet and 51 feet tall,” Mercer said.

It will cost $36 million to transform the space into a hotel, restaurant, speakeasy, taproom and pool club.

"And while you're in the beer garden, you'll be able to access the bar here which will have full food and beverage menus,” Mercer said.

But after a year and a half process, the Oklahoma National Guard Armory was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

That means Coop will be able to use 20% federal tax credits and 20% in state tax credits- money they say is a huge help.

"The tax credits make it a feasible endeavor,” Mercer said.

But they will have to work with the state historic preservation office to keep the history alive.

"So really the exterior of the building is what we're really going to be focused on. It's a pretty big deal as far as what it looks like from the outside. Making sure that doesn't change too significantly,” Sara Werneke, National Register of Historic Places Coordinator for the Oklahoma Historical Society said.

Keeping history alive as the old armory moves into a new life.

COOP plans to open the facility in late summer of 2021.

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