The owners of downtown's Santa Fe Train Depot have dropped objections to a city acquisition of the station through eminent domain, clearing the way for it to be converted into a transit hub.
Failed negotiations between the city and the depot's owner, Brewer Entertainment, ended with the city filing for eminent domain last year.
The city sought to pay $2.5 million, while Brewer Entertainment countered with a $23.5 million purchase price.
Court-appointed commissioners in September set the sales price at $4.5 million, which the city council on Tuesday agreed to pay into an escrow account. But attorneys for the Brewers filed an objection, arguing 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.”
Assistant city attorney Dan Brummett said that objection was dropped this week, though Brewer Entertainment can still ask for a jury trial to seek further damages. The city received a $13.5 million federal grant last fall, 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, 30 E.K. Gaylord, already is a stop for Amtrak's Heartland Flyer. The streetcar system is funded as part of MAPS 3.
Brummett said Thursday the station's ownership will be transferred to the city and that existing leases with a cupcake shop and a billboard company will be honored.
A spokesman for the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, meanwhile, said Brewer's operation of the adjoining parking lots is likely to end once the city acquisition is completed.