The Norman Planning Commission approved a rezoning application for a downtown landmark at a monthly meeting on Thursday.
Adair & Associates Realty President James L. Adair has requested the rezoning of the historic Primrose Building, 115. S. Peters Ave., from C-3, an intensive commercial district, to a simple planned unit development.
The 7,776-square-foot building built in 1930 is currently office space, but Adair plans to offer residences, commercial space and offices, according to a staff presentation.
The motion passed 6-0, clearing the final hurdle in what would be the building’s first renovation in nearly 50 years.
Norman town planner Colton Wayman said Adair wanted to rezone to allow disabled accessible residential accommodation on the ground floor as well as residential accommodation on the top.
Adair said redevelopment is always a challenge and that a primary goal for projects like the one proposed for the Primrose building should be to respect the history and integrity of the structure.
“This building is the one we wanted,” Adair said. “We knew the building well enough to know that it could physically accommodate lofts.”
Adair is sometimes asked about setting up loft apartments at his properties. He said the answer is that they often have a completed office renovation upstairs. Office space in the Primrose Building was last renovated in 1973.
Adair said the property needed major work.
According to the applicant’s presentation, the site is low slope with minimal topographic variation and no part of the property is in a water quality protection zone.
Rezoning to SPUD would allow for an ADA-accessible apartment on the ground floor, Adair said.
The Primrose Building was Norman’s original hotel, Adair said.
Bringing partial residential use back to the building would close the loop, he added.
The rest of the ground floor would revert to offices, Adair said.
Planning Commission Secretary Dave Boeck said the project was innovative, but urged Adair to consider a residential-only ground floor.
“I love that someone is making an accessible unit for a professional to live downtown,” Boeck said.
“I have no desire to set a precedent for residential ground floors in downtown Norman,” Adair said, adding that ideal ground floor tenants would be a restaurant or retail. , which would produce sales taxes for the city.