Leasing agents for some of downtown Oklahoma City's premium office towers are competing to become the temporary home base of the city's new NBA team.
Clay Bennett, who leads the ownership team that bought the former Seattle SuperSonics, listed the search for new office space as one of the first tasks they face in moving to Oklahoma City this summer.
City covering the costs
As part of an agreement to play at Ford Center, the city committed to paying for temporary downtown office space for team employees until permanent space is added at the arena.
"The addition of 120-plus employees to the current downtown work force of over 52,000 adds to the 24/7 vibrant environment we're working to create,” said Brett Hamm, president of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc.
"The fact that these are NBA employees serves as an impressive recognition of the investment the public and private sectors have made towards downtown's success,” Hamm said.
Mark Beffort, principal of Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort, represents Leadership Square and Corporate Tower. Those two towers, along with Oklahoma Tower, are considered top contenders as downtown's premium Class A office properties. He said even just a two-year lease with the team would be considered a huge win because of the nature of the tenant.
"People like to be around exciting new things,” Beffort said. "To be around basketball players, it really is a neat deal.”
Less space available
Space is available, Beffort said, though not as much exists as did when the Hornets were looking for a similar deal in 2005.