Former Pilgrim Congregational Church in Oklahoma City fails to sell at auction

The owners, Raman & Raman LLP, were not prepared to sell the property at such a great loss, auctioneer Gregg Pickens said.
BY RICHARD MIZE richardmize@opubco.com Published: June 28, 2011
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Bidders came but MidTown Oklahoma City's former Pilgrim Congregational Church property was left behind — on the auction block.

A handful of would-be buyers turned out Monday and inched the bidding up to $365,000, not enough to satisfy the owners, Raman & Raman LLP.

“They knew they were going to take a loss. They didn't think they were going to take this much of a loss,” said Gregg Pickens of Stillwater-based Pickens Auctions, a few minutes before shutting the auction down about 4:30 p.m.

Owners since 2003, Raman and Raman — Dr. Rita P. Raman, a neonatal-perinatal specialist, and Dr. Tirunelveli V. Venkataraman, an internal medicine specialist — have $2.2 million invested in the property, Pickens said.

The property has two addresses, 1433 Classen Drive for the Late Gothic Revival-style church building and 829 NW 13 for its office wing, northwest of where Classen Drive and NW 13 intersect. The auction flier billed it as a “wonderful opportunity to purchase almost 1 acre of land near Downtown OKC.”

The 26,000-square-foot property, partially converted for use as a health spa, includes the grand sanctuary with ornate woodwork, an east wing with three levels and 6,000 square feet of office space, an indoor swimming pool, steam rooms and saunas. Pickens said negotiations were continuing among the owners and two bidders.

The property is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by Oklahoma City's Hawk & Parr architects and built in 1920. Pilgrim Congregation Church merged with Mayflower Congregational Church in the mid-1980s. Spectators Monday included the Rev. Robin Meyers, senior minister, and the Rev. Chris Moore, associate minister, of Mayflower.