If 2012 office sales in Oklahoma City lacked magnitude, they made up for it in novelty.
Some notable properties changed hands, and reuse and redevelopment were behind the deals, not just investment in income-producing property, according to Price Edwards & Co.
Price Edwards tracked 15 sales of buildings totaling 2,443,000 square feet for a combined $138 million, according to its year-end office market summary. The report, which recorded only buildings 25,000 square feet and larger, is available online at www.priceedwards.com.
Going old school
American Farmers & Ranchers Insurance's $10 million sale of the old Central High School, which it occupied since 2005, topped broker Craig Tucker's list for transactions having an impact downtown.
The 103-year-old, 177,000-square-foot building will become the home of the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Returning the space to academic use will bring a different kind of buzz to 800 N Harvey, Tucker said: one that will increase the “heartbeat” of the central business district.
“This conversion from general office space to a use more closely associated with its old Central High School heritage represents an outstanding opportunity for a number of law school students and professors to soon become a part of the downtown and near-downtown community fabric,” Price Edwards said in its year-end office market summary.
Tucker said another transaction hitting downtown in the heartbeat was the sale of 115,000-square-foot Century Center Mall last May to an investor group led by Steve Hurst.
The nearly vacant property at 100 W Main St. will “see new life” with the relocation of The Oklahoma Publishing Company, publisher of The Oklahoman, from 9000 Broadway Extension next year. OPUBCO plans to occupy 67,000 square feet of the space. The property owners also plan retail and restaurants at street level.
“Century Center Mall is poised to become a vibrant addition to the heart of (downtown),” Price Edwards said in the sales summary compiled by managing partner Ford Price.
OPUBCO's sale of its office building on Broadway Extension was another significant transaction last year, Price Edwards said.
The firm reported that the 282,971-square-foot, 12-story tower and adjacent parking garage accounted for $40 million of the $74.95 million that American Fidelity Corp. paid for them and other OPUBCO property at Britton Road and Broadway Extension in August. American Fidelity Assurance Co. is relocating from 2000 N Classen.
Another building conversion is under way at the long-vacant Osler Building, 1200 N Walker Ave., which Midtown Renaissance sold in November for $2.25 million to Tulsa's Coury Properties. It is being converted to the Ambassador Hotel. Coury Properties is the company that in 2005 made the Colcord Hotel, 15 N Robinson, out of an office building before selling it to Devon Energy in 2008.
“This will add to the incredibly successful metamorphosis of the midtown area, led by Midtown Renaissance LLC, which has made tremendous progress the last several years in redeveloping vacant properties into vibrant offices, retail shops and residential units. Coury's boutique hotel will be one more tremendous addition to the area,” Price Edwards said.
Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s divestment of real estate continued to affect the office market last year. Price Edwards noted the end-of-year sales of Caliber Center, 3817 Northwest Expressway, and Harvey Parkway, 301 NW 63, as particularly significant.
IBC Bank-Oklahoma paid Chesapeake $32,391,500 for the 274,400-square-foot Caliber Center, county records show. North Robinson Investments paid the energy company $6.4 million for the Harvey Parkway building.
Finally, 2012 saw another change in ownership of what Price Edwards called “long suffering” First National Center. Another investor bought the 1 million-square-foot property at 120 N Robinson out of bankruptcy for $5.3 million. The California-based owner has reported no plans to improve or redevelop the property, Price Edwards noted.