Oct. 12--Catholic Charities is pursuing construction of a new headquarters that, if built, would act as a new gateway to adjoining Midtown.
Renderings by Mass Architects submitted for review Thursday by the Downtown Design Review Committee show a modern two-story building that would front NW 12 and Classen Boulevard with parking to the east.
The building would include a warehouse, offices and counseling rooms, an open plaza and parking for 132 cars.
Catholic Charities has long been a presence in the area, and is widely credited for helping resettle refugees from Vietnam after the Vietnam War. Those refuges and their families formed what is now a thriving Asian district centered at NW 23 and Classen.
Immigrant and refugee counseling and assistance are still among the services offered by Catholic Charities.
Patrick Raglow, director of Catholic Charities, said Thursday's presentation is an early step toward starting fundraising for new headquarters. This would replace its current Oklahoma City location at 1501 N Classen.
That building, which dates to the 1960s or earlier, was originally built as an insurance office. The property has been home to Catholic Charities for the past 20 years.
"It's been through a lot of incarnations," Raglow said. "The problem with it now is it just wasn't built for what our needs are. We need to do something that will allow us to service our clients with more dignity and allow for future growth."
Catholic Charities, which has branches in Clinton, Enid and Guymon, served approximately 16,000 people last year. Most were served through the Oklahoma City headquarters.
The site is currently vacant and was eyed for an Office Depot store several years ago.
Mickey Clagg, president of the Midtown Redevelopment Corporation Board, said he welcomed the prospect of Catholic Charities serving as a gateway to the district.
"It will be a great addition," Clagg said. "It is certainly a great bookend for Midtown along Classen ... it really fills a gap."