In the mid-1950s, Oklahoma City was in the midst of the love affair with the automobile, the thrill of travel via Route 66 and a flourishing economic environment powered by oil and agriculture. Investor Sylvanus G. Felix purchased the property at the corner of Park and Harvey. It was his intent to build a seventeen-story office complex with stylish interiors and modern conveniences. Designed by Sorey, Hill, and Sorey architecture firm, the 170,000-square-foot building was completed in 1957 and became the home of Fidelity Bank.
A later addition to the building was made by an oil company that updated floors nine through seventeen by adding expensive flooring and a private elevator. The building also housed the Geological Library for over a decade.
At its opening, it was one of the largest office buildings constructed in Oklahoma City since the 1930s. The architecture of the building is a classic example of early Mesian International style. Mesian means “skin over bones” and focuses on the volume of a space. It illustrates the post-World War II transition away from traditional ornamentation to the modern use of steel, aluminum and concrete.
In the 1970s, the building became the place of business for legal warriors and geological support organizations. The building’s location – just steps away from the Oklahoma County Courthouse and two blocks from the Federal Courts and City offices – was a great attraction to tenants.
As urban renewal forces wiped out historic buildings in downtown Oklahoma City, the building at Park Avenue and Harvey remained filled with active and profitable companies. But as the 20th century came to a close, the Park Harvey fell victim to the mass movement to suburbia and urban sprawl.
Over 50 years since its opening, the building is getting a new perspective on its surroundings. The vision of Justin Gardner, Richard Tanenbaum and their team is allowing Oklahoma City’s growing urban dwellers an option for affordable downtown living: the Park Harvey Apartments.
A commitment to downtown revival and the creation of a thriving urban environment has the Park Harvey Apartments positioned to once again house the best, brightest and most optimistic of urban dwellers. With over $20 million in renovations and a detailed eye to historical preservation, the Park Harvey represents the true revitalization of Oklahoma City – a home where the upwardly mobile adult is only steps away from work, play and cultural activity.