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Oklahoma City opens 'friendly' condemnation actions to clear way for convention center

Urban Renewal Authority seeks to condemn the former Fred Jones Ford dealership and Ira’s Tire Shop properties, which are directly south of the Myriad Gardens.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: June 18, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: June 17, 2014

The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority is moving forward with condemnation of the former Fred Jones Ford dealership property and Ira’s Tire Shop as it seeks to acquire property for a new $250 million convention center.

City attorneys filed condemnation papers in Oklahoma County District Court against the owners of the properties, which are directly south of the Myriad Gardens. Neither property owner countered with asking prices when approached by the Urban Renewal Authority.

Both ownership groups also declined to comment to The Oklahoman.

Cathy O’Connor, director of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, said the filing against the dealership land owners, consisting of a partnership led by Bob Howard, is a “friendly” action that both sides agreed to in settling on a price. The Howard group is not disputing the city’s right to take the land through eminent domain.

“The next step in the process is to have a hearing to appoint three commissioners who will then determine the value,” O’Connor said. “Once they are appointed, they will be given a certain amount of time to determine what the properties are worth.”

At that point, O’Connor said, the parties can accept the valuation set by the commissioners and put money into an account. The parties also may challenge the valuation and the matter would then go to a jury trial.

A convention center is being designed for the site as part of MAPS 3. The site also may include development of a conference hotel.

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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