Oklahoma City panel approves public funding for downtown development projects

A redevelopment of the former Journal Record building and a new hotel and museum in Oklahoma City are a step closer to reality.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: December 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm •  Published: December 6, 2013

A conversion of the Fred Jones assembly plant into a 21C Museum Hotel and redevelopment of the former Journal Record building are both a step closer to reality with the approval Thursday of tax increment financing for both projects.

The Journal Record Building, at NW 6 and Robinson Avenue, was extensively damaged by the 1995 bombing of the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Owners of the business newspaper sold the building to the city, and the western one-third was sold and turned into the home of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The more ornate, eastern side has remained empty for 18 years. Heritage Trust has an agreement with the Oklahoma Cultural and Industrial Facilities Trust to buy the building for $7.25 million.

Allocation wins OK

A committee tasked with review of tax increment financing applications unanimously approved on Thursday a $4.75 million allocation toward a $26 million renovation of the building and the $7.2 million construction of a 409-space parking garage.

Bond Payne, chairman of Heritage Trust, said about 300 of the 409 parking spaces will be needed for his company and other tenants, with the remaining spaces to be provided to the public. A market study will be done to determine if more spaces should be added to the garage. Payne said.

Louisville, Ky.-based 21c Museum Hotels, meanwhile, received unanimous approval for $5.3 million in tax increment financing toward a $51.5 million conversion of the Fred Jones assembly plant at 900 W Main into a hotel and contemporary art gallery.

The redevelopment calls for 140 hotel rooms and a locally owned restaurant. The building is on the west end of Film Row, and is surrounded by blighted properties.

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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A tax increment finance district, also known as a TIF, allows a city, town or county to use tax money generated by a new development to pay for public improvements in the development area. Improvements associated with redevelopment projects can be supported by bonds, with the debt to be repaid by money generated within the TIF district.

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