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Redevelopment is proposed for Journal Record Building is Oklahoma City

A $13.7 million makeover is proposed for downtown's Journal Record Building as part of a bid submitted Monday to the Oklahoma City Cultural and Industrial Facilities Trust by the chairman of Heritage Trust Co.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: January 8, 2013 at 9:01 am •  Published: January 8, 2013

The bid submitted Monday offers $1.74 million for the property and asks for unspecified city assistance in tax increment financing for the renovation and for construction of a garage with ground-floor retail on the former site of the YMCA building just southeast of the Journal Record Building.

“Parking is critical,” Bond said, adding he is seeking to create a new financing model that can be adopted by other future downtown developers.

Cathy O'Connor, president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City that oversees the facilities trust, said her staff will spend a couple of weeks evaluating Payne's proposal.

Payne's was the only response to a request for proposals issued last month, and follows several years of fruitless efforts to sell or lease the space.

“It's all still subject to negotiations and finding solutions acceptable to the Cultural and Industrial Facilities Trust and the developer,” O'Connor said.

Respect for memorial

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism submitted letters endorsing the development.

Payne, a former memorial trustee, said he strived to ensure his plans complemented and respected the memorial and its operations. Hiring Hans Butzer, who designed the memorial, was part of that effort, Payne said, adding the architect also is respected in urban design and historic preservation.

Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial director, said she hopes Payne's project can start soon so it can coincide with an upcoming renovation and exhibit upgrade of the museum.

“We hope a year from now we're in museum redesign at the same time that they're under construction,” Watkins said. “That would be very exciting.”

Watkins and Payne said they hope the proposed redevelopment can be completed by 2015 — the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

“We would like to move quickly, firm up an agreement with the city and move on,” Payne said. “We're very cognizant that the 20th anniversary of the bombing is coming up, and we'd like to see it ready at that time. The market is ready.”

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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