Oklahoma City may face more delays in acquiring the Santa Fe Depot as it seeks to establish a new downtown transit center.
Failed negotiations between the city and the depot's owner, Brewer Entertainment, ended with the city filing for eminent domain. The city sought to pay $2.5 million while Brewer Entertainment countered with a $23.5 million purchase price.
Court-appointed commissioners last month set the sales price at $4.5 million, which the city council on Tuesday agreed to pay into an escrow account.
Joseph Bocock, attorney for Brewer Entertainment, did not return calls Tuesday to The Oklahoman. But in his court challenge, he argued the city could not show it intends to use the depot to facilitate “intermodal transportation,” which is defined as “the movement of people involving more than one mode of transportation during a single, seamless journey.”
Dan Brummitt, an assistant city attorney, said the city will defend its taking of the station. The city received a $13.5 million federal grant, which is being used with $14.8 million in local funding to acquire, renovate and expand the depot to accommodate the new MAPS 3 streetcars and a potential regional passenger rail system.
The depot already is a stop for Amtrak's Heartland Flyer. The streetcar system is funded as part of MAPS 3.
The federal grant includes a June 2014 deadline to have that funding obligated and the agreement in place.
Jane Abraham, the city's community and government affairs manager, said she is uncertain whether the court challenge will impact the grant proceeding.
“We're proceeding forward with all of our plans and assuming this will be resolved,” Abraham said. “We knew this might be a potential issue.”