Oklahoma City has secured the key and control to downtown’s Santa Fe Depot, clearing the way for it to be converted into a $28 million transit hub that will serve downtown’s new streetcar system, Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer and a potential new regional passenger rail line.
The city spent two years negotiating with the prior owners, Brewer Entertainment, and successfully sought an eminent domain ruling on the property last summer when court-appointed commissioners set the purchase price at $4.5 million.
Assistant City Attorney Dan Brummitt said Wednesday that Brewer Entertainment is still seeking a jury trial to contest the purchase price, which could result in the city paying more or less than the $4.5 million. During negotiations, Brewer Entertainment, owned by the family of the late Bricktown developer Jim Brewer, sought to sell the property for $23.5 million, countering the city’s original offer of $2.5 million.
Brummitt said Brewer Entertainment, which sometimes charged $20 for parking on the property during special events downtown, is no longer involved with any of the property’s operations. Control of the building and lots was transferred to the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA).
However, on Wednesday evening, a Brewer Entertainment sign was advertising parking in the depot’s north lot for $20. COTPA spokesman Michael Scroggins said negotiations regarding leases on the property are continuing.
Leases signed with the Brewers will continue, including a lease with the Oklahoma Transportation Department for parking for Amtrak customers and access to the depot, leases with Tyler Media for two digital billboards on the property, with Pinkitzel Candy & Cupcakes for a shop in the depot’s freight wing, and MidFirst Bank, which leases parking spaces during Thunder home games at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Those leases involve complications that are proving to be challenging to the city to sort through.