Dr. Vinod Gupta was knocked down on Lincoln Boulevard but is not out of the office market in Oklahoma City.
He's still up by three at Lake Hefner Parkway and Northwest Expressway: the three Landmark Towers, the California cardiologist's other prominent office investment here.
It took almost three years, but the extraordinary hailstorm of May 16, 2010, finally did Gupta in at Lincoln Plaza Office Park, 4545 N Lincoln Blvd., last month when the lender started foreclosure proceedings.
Hailed wrecked the roof of the sprawling, 270,000-square-foot property. The next month, heavy rains caused flooding so bad the largest occupant, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, left, the first of a train of tenants headed for drier ground, taking the income stream with them.
Meanwhile Gupta and management continued to work to improve Landmark Towers, which Gupta bought in March 2008.
“Landmark Towers has been a landmark around here for a long time — great architecture, great location. It suffered through some rough times under previous owners,” broker-attorney Bert Belanger said of the identical triplet 10-story buildings, one at 3535 NW 58, one at 3545 NW 58 and one at 3555 NW 58.
Each building has 101,380 square feet of space — “almost exactly 10,000 square feet” per floor — and a basement, said Belanger, president of Urban Works Realty Development Services.
Urban Works managing broker Jay Crabb, agent Brennan Dolan and Belanger handle Landmark Towers leasing. K.C. Phillips of Gupta's property management company, CR Operating Co., manages the office complex.
“Dr. Gupta's overall plan was to reposition it in the marketplace to a higher class befitting its Class-A location,” Belanger said. “He has invested several million dollars in new capital improvements, including new roofs, new granite and marble cladding in each main lobby, on the exterior building podiums, and currently is upgrading each floor's elevator lobby and bathrooms with new fixtures and granite-marble floors. Additionally, the chillers-boilers have been replaced and major landscaping and parking resurfacing is planned for the coming months.”
The towers together are 87 percent occupied, Phillips said, naming key tenants as GSB Architects and Lynn Institute in the west tower, 3555 NW 58; Oklahoma State Education Employees Group Insurance Board in the center tower, 3545 NW 58; and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and First Citizens Bank in the east tower, 3535 NW 58.
Amil Gupta, the owner's son, who works in the family business, said they are happy to concentrate their attention to office properties on Landmark Towers.
“Like the city itself, my family's commitment to investing in Oklahoma City has grown over the last 20 years,” he said. “Oklahoma's emerging marketplace demands that investors approach real estate innovatively and our project at Landmark Towers is our response to that demand. We consider this project to be an embodiment of our belief in the sustainability of Oklahoma's growth.”
State agencies — the bread-and-butter tenants for Lincoln Park — lease some 70,000 square feet of space at Landmark Towers. Other Landmark Towers tenants include national lessee Manpower Inc. and local service firms.
The triplets have been a novel office setting in Oklahoma City for more than 40 years. An Ohio-based real estate investment trust started with the center tower in 1967, built the east tower in 1969 and the west one in 1972, Belanger said.
“Landmark's hilltop location and visibility is its greatest attribute, and Dr. Gupta seeks to enhance the iconic architecture of the triple towers with upgraded finishes and services that will ratchet up the property's profile in northwest Oklahoma City,” he said, noting the proximity to Deaconess and Integris hospitals and the potential for medical-related tenancy.
The 10,000-square-foot floor plates, Belanger said, “that's the sweet spot,” easily divided for several tenants or combined with contiguous floors for a company needing more space. He noted that some newer tenants are considering expansion.