Downtown moves could signal new tower for Oklahoma City

A mysterious scramble is underway to empty the 11-story One North Hudson Building, part of a block of properties in Oklahoma City bought up over the past decade by developer Nicholas Preftakes.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: July 17, 2013 at 9:30 am •  Published: July 16, 2013

While Preftakes isn't talking, it's highly unlikely he is struggling to find tenants for the office building, which overlooks the revamped Myriad Gardens.

After Devon Energy added 1.8 million square feet to the downtown office market, some people worried whether the city would be hit with a glut of vacant space. The opposite occurred as new companies moved into town, and now the city's downtown garage system is oversold and full.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President Roy Williams on Tuesday told the city council “our success has become our impediment.”

“We're losing potential clients everyday,” Williams said. “They're looking for existing space, and we're basically full. Everything large, 50,000 square feet and up, is basically full in our market.”

Could more than one new tower be in the works for the downtown skyline? Devon Energy has denied rumors it plans to build a second tower on Preftakes' block, though its parking garages are filling up as its workforce continues to expand.

Or could Preftakes' moves be directly related to the development set to occur across the street at Stage Center?

Either way, the timelines are moving in tandem and deadlines are being set by owners of both blocks.

And Hunsucker is caught up by both deadlines, which has him hoping to quickly build a new home for his law firm at 600 W Sheridan. Hunsucker bought the corner at Sheridan and Dewey back when Film Row was better known as Skid Row and prospects for the area looked dim.

Most of the remainder of Film Row has since been redeveloped to the west and walls are going up for the new John W. Rex Elementary across the street to the east. With the redevelopment of Stage Center almost a certainty, and potentially more redevelopment ahead of Preftakes' block, Hunsucker is set to enjoy a pretty plush new address.

If he can get the job done by April.

Hunsucker experienced an unexpected delay last month when the Downtown Design Review Committee told him he needed to make changes to the building plans and involve an architect.

He's done just that, changing the roofline from a pitched to a flat line, and architect Thomas Small worked with builder/designer Scott Coleman on final renderings.

Hunsucker will find out if his plans can proceed at Thursday's design review meeting. He also is including a retail space facing Sheridan that he hopes to lease out to an art gallery or related use. His fallback plan is to open a gallery for his own photography, which he displays at festivals throughout the year.

“I think this building will provide a nice transition, a nice step down that will bring together the business district and Film Row. We are moving a bit quicker than we wanted to with everything changing around us.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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