The Oklahoman is returning to downtown.
Century Center, 100 W Main, is set to become home to The Oklahoma Publishing Company, The Oklahoman and NewsOK by September 2014, subject to remaining government approvals. About 350 employees will make the move, while the production operation will remain at Britton and Broadway.
“We are really excited to be making this move,” said Chris Reen, president of OPUBCO Communications Group and publisher of The Oklahoman. “Downtown Oklahoma City has been restored to vibrancy and we want to be right in the middle of the action. Our digital billboards along with our street-side studio will offer us even more ways of connecting with our readers and the community. And the transparent design of the facility will give passers-by a glimpse into the largest newsgathering operation in the state.”
“Being in our new location will also be terrific for our employees with access to the Myriad Gardens, dozens of restaurants, Chesapeake Energy Arena, and everything else downtown has to offer,” Reen said.
Negotiations between owners of Century Center, 100 Main LLC led by Steve Hurst, Mark Moore and Andy Burnett, and OPUBCO began about a year ago. OPUBCO was represented by Mark Beffort with Newmark Grubb, while Tim Strange and Andy Burnett with Newmark Grubb represented 100 Main LLC.
Final designs for a complete renovation of Century Center, meanwhile, are set to be presented Thursday to the Downtown Design Review Committee.
“This is a huge win for the city and for downtown; taking a building that has been dormant for almost 30 years and re-purposing it into a state of the art headquarters office building,” Strange said. “It's just another in a string of victories for Oklahoma City and it is fitting that this announcement comes on the eve of the 20 year anniversary of MAPS, the catalyst for the renaissance of Oklahoma City.”
The Oklahoman was started downtown in 1889; the newspaper grew into the largest news organization in Oklahoma after it was acquired by The Oklahoma Publishing Company in 1903. The newspaper left downtown in 1991.
The new downtown home is within walking distance of some of the state's most prominent employers, including Devon Energy, BancFirst, Sonic, Continental Resources and SandRidge Energy, as well as the Thunder, the Oklahoma RedHawks, the Barons, Bricktown, the Myriad Gardens, city and county government, and city, county and federal courts.