On the Market: The Innovative Nuway Cleaners Building
by Lynne Rostochil. Photos by Charlie Merida and Lynne Rostochil. (Charlie’s are the lighter images and Lynne’s are the darker ones.)
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):
Love those slanted windows that let in so much great light:
And the Roman brick is pretty cool, too:
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:
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:
This little booth also contains its own safe…
… and a vented gas heater that looks like it’s been there since Day 1:
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:
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:
Pink bathroom alert!
Cute, cute kitchen:
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:
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:
Apparently, the windows broke after an especially rough storm and the Nuway owners bricked in the upper story to avoid future problems:
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.