With a deadline looming for First National Center to go into receivership, a potential sale is in the works that involves the center and east portions of the complex being converted into structured parking.
Architect Don Beck appeared before the Downtown Design Review Committee on Thursday on an unscheduled presentation and told members his unidentified client had not yet bought the properties but was looking at turning them into parking.
The proposal calls for two garage entrances facing Park Avenue and one facing Broadway. Ground floor retail would be maintained in the central building facing Park Avenue.
First National Center spans three buildings totaling more than 1 million square feet with office space on the upper floors and retail on the ground floor arcade.
Aaron Yashouafar, who leads investment groups that own the property, said Thursday no deal has yet to be completed.
“Since its acquisition of First National Center, the ownership has been exploring various alternative uses for the Center Building or East Building,” Yashouafar said. “These contemplated uses include potentially adding a hotel, residential, or parking component to the Center or East Buildings to complement the historic and iconic West Building. While the ownership has been approached by a few local investment groups, at this time, there is no agreement in place for possible sale or joint venture of First National Center.”
The deal detailed by Beck, if it proceeds, would allow for a conversion of the existing buildings, a 14-story addition opened in December 1957 with frontage on Park Avenue, and a second 14-story addition facing Broadway built in 1972.
Beck did not indicate whether the transaction will involve the original historic 33-story First National tower built in 1931.
Yashouafar's investment groups bought the complex in 2006 for $21 million.
A foreclosure action by Capmark against Yashouafar in 2010 was followed by a bankruptcy filing that ended with an agreement by both sides that Yashouafar would pay $12 million to close the remaining $21 million mortgage. That agreement came with a May 26 deadline that if not met would have resulted in the building going to be a receiver who would dispose of the property.
That deadline was extended twice by Capmark. In a recent interview with The Oklahoman, Rob Robertson, an attorney representing Capmark, stated a deadline set for Friday will be the last such extension.
Yashouafar also is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to charges he embezzled $1 million in insurance money intended for repairs of senior residents' fire-damaged condominiums in Arizona. In pleadings last month, Yashouafar agreed to pay $1 million restitution to the residents and face up to 10 years in prison.