On the Market: The Innovative Nuway Cleaners Building

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Mod Blog |

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos by Charlie Merida and Lynne Rostochil.  (Charlie’s are the lighter images and Lynne’s are the darker ones.)

 

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One of OKC’s most interesting buildings has hit the market for the first time in nearly 20 years.  The old Nuway Cleaners building at NW 31st and May was a rare multi-use project when it was constructed in 1953.  Designed by Hudgins Thompson & Ball, who were working the Northwest Shopping Center across the street at the same time, the Nuway Cleaners building included a laundromat on the ground floor (which later became the Granada Florist space and is now about to open as an antique store):

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Love those slanted windows that let in so much great light:

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And the Roman brick is pretty cool, too:

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The design boasted a revolutionary concept at the time, drive-thru drop off and pick up bays for the cleaners, one of which was so popular that it’s still in use today by Nuway’s successor, Metro Cleaners:

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The bay closest to May is no longer in use and would be a great space for a sno-cone stand or to-go food place:

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This little booth also contains its own safe…

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… and a vented gas heater that looks like it’s been there since Day 1:

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HearthGlo Matic … you’ve got to love that!

In addition to the commercial space, the building includes nine cozy and comfy apartments upstairs and away from the busy street that surround a fun common area:

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How cool is that floating roof?

Some of the units are one bedroom and others are two.  Charlie and I photographed a two-bedroom unit with a lot of original details:

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Pink bathroom alert!

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Cute, cute kitchen:

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Outside, some of the original signage remains, making this building a favorite for photographers around the city, including me.  Here are a few of the images I’ve taken of this very photogenic building over the years:

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The upper story of the cleaners was originally all glass, as you can see in this photo from the 1956 brochure we posted on the Mod Blog a few weeks ago:

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Apparently, the windows broke after an especially rough storm and the Nuway owners bricked in the upper story to avoid future problems:

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How cool would it be to open up those walls again and have the upper level be a loungy bar or restaurant … or even an apartment?

Yes, this building has a ton of potential and if you have a million ideas like I do of things to do with this Metro mid-century modern icon, this might be just the development opportunity for you.  The owner’s granddaughter, Courtney Thanphachanh (and I thought my last name was a challenge!), is the realtor for the listing, which is on the market for $650,000, and would be thrilled to see this beloved property realize its maximum potential.  Call her at 437-5468 with inquiries and you can find the listing here.