Devon Energy Corp. executives on Tuesday dedicated Oklahoma's newest and tallest skyscraper.
The Devon Energy Center dedication marked the end of a nearly three-year construction project and the continuation of a time of development and improvement at Devon and throughout Oklahoma City, CEO John Richels said.
“This building is a symbol of Devon's growth and of Oklahoma City's growth,” he said. “Our state is thriving. We are in a very enviable position compared to many other states in the union.”
When construction began on the $750 million, 50-story tower in 2009, architect Jon Pickard told The Oklahoman he knew of no other skyscrapers being started in the country during what was the tail end of the Great Recession.
Gov. Mary Fallin praised Nichols and other Devon executives for completing the project despite the changing economy.
“In 2008, when we went through our economic downturn, it would have been easy for Larry Nichols and his team to sit back and say, ‘This is a tough time for our nation,'” Fallin said. “But he kept his word and kept his commitment and completed this skyscraper. He had faith in the people of Oklahoma.”
The tower and its connected rotunda and meeting rooms house 1.8 million square feet of office space.
About 1,700 Devon employees work in the building. Earlier this month, the company said it will close its Houston office and move “several hundred” jobs to the headquarters.
While the tower is designed to house Devon's employees and operations, the restaurant and much of the ground floor space is open to the public.
“We wanted to help build Oklahoma City and the downtown core,” Nichols said. “I've never seen a vibrant city that did not have a vibrant core. We want the community to be a part of us, and we want to be part of the community. We designed the building to support that.”
The building reflects more than just the growth of Devon in recent years, Mayor Mick Cornett said.
“Beyond the visible changes, the emotional impact on Oklahoma City is just as strong if not stronger,” Cornett said. “Those of us who have been in the community and remember the toils and trials of the '80s and the struggles of the '90s realize what it means when we reopened the (Hilton) Skirvin (Hotel) and cut a ribbon today on a tower as majestic as this.”