Producers Cooperative Oil Mill is tearing down and recycling the old tire factory where it once meant to relocate — and is staying put in the shadow of Bricktown and downtown.
Razing the 1.1-million-square-foot building will make it easier to sell land — 170 acres in the heart of southwest Oklahoma City’s industrial district — that it no longer needs, said Austin Rose, president and CEO.
Five years ago, Producers Cooperative, 6 SE 4, bought the closed-down Bridgestone/Firestone Dayton Tire factory and acreage at 2500 S Council Road to move and expand.
Since then, circumstances that made a move make sense have changed for the 70-year-old cotton and canola oil mill, which sits where seed oil compresses have operated for more than 100 years. It plans to keep only about 8 acres where it constructed oil storage tanks.
First, the pressure is off to make way for a new convention center, now being planned for west of the plant, Rose said. Second, four years of drought have kept canola farming in Oklahoma from expanding as fast as hoped, so expansion isn’t warranted, he said.
In moving terms, Producers Cooperative lost both its push factor and pull factor.
“With the development of Bricktown, and downtown as well, there was a thought that we would need to move, that somebody would want that property for a higher and better use. I think that is still going to happen. It just hasn’t moved quite as fast,” Rose said.
Producers Cooperative put its 43 acres just south of Bricktown on the market in early 2010 for $120 million, an asking price widely seen as well outside the realm of reason: $2,790,698 per acre, or $64 per square foot.
A year later, the mill offered to sell the city 15 acres as a convention center site for $41.8 million, sweetening the pitch by agreeing to contribute $3 million to extend Bricktown Canal through the property.
Nothing came of either offer, although Rose said someone eventually will want the mill acreage enough, and have money enough to buy it for redevelopment.
“You know, we have a pretty large tract down there, and it’s not easily developed. It takes a developer with big vision and a lot of money to do a tract that large,” he said. “Most of the tracts that you’ve seen redeveloped in Bricktown and downtown have been smaller acreages.”
Meanwhile, the need to expand dried up with the drought.