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Something You Didn't Know About the Stage Center Development

by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: August 8, 2014 at 11:30 am •  Published: August 7, 2014

Demolition of the Stage Center, Hudson and Sheridan, in downtown Oklahoma City Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014.  Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
Demolition of the Stage Center, Hudson and Sheridan, in downtown Oklahoma City Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority formerly issued a request for development proposals for the property south of Stage Center. The request has no real surprises.

As I first reported last month, Urban Renewal director Cathy O’Connor put out the request after inquiries expressed by Chicago-based Clayco, which was hired to assist in development of the OGE Energy Corp. headquarters set to be built on the Stage Center property.

With Stage Center being torn down, Clayco asked for the opportunity to develop the south half of the block.

Proposals will be due Oct. 6, with a developer designation due by December. I expect multiple proposals to be submitted.

Proposals must include a plan to address organizations displaced by development including but not limited to payment of relocation costs, identification of alternative sites for entities, and recognition and allowances for the limited financial resources of the not for profit entities. Those non-profits include the Myriad Gardens Foundation, Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Canterbury Choral Society, Oklahoma Youth Orchestra and the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

Other potential displacements include La Luna restaurant and Indian Exploration.

Have no doubt, this whole block has become a hot play in the real estate world. As evidenced by the graphic above, assembled by the Urban Renewal Authority, it has just about everything a developer would dream of all just across the street.

For weeks I’ve waited to get a call back from Shaun Frankfurt, head of the real estate division for Clayco. To date, I’ve gotten no response. I also tried to reach Rainey Williams Jr., developer for the Stage Center property. I was told today he is unavailable, won’t be able to call me back, but will have an update later this month.

But I’m ready to talk about Frankfurt, with or without getting any of my calls returned. So why am I focused on Frankfurt?

Frankfurt is no stranger to Oklahoma City, having overseen the state office for Trammell Crow Company between 2000 and 2008. He then moved up to Chicago, where for two years he was senior managing partner of that office. In 2011, he moved to Aspen Capital Partners as managing principal.

What doesn’t show up on Frankfurt’s resume is his prior interest in the Stage Center site. Months before Rainey Williams’ bid to buy Stage Center was accepted by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, I was told by several sources I trust that Frankfurt was the competing bidder. I was informed he was pitching an impressive two tower development, and initially he was expected by several folks to be in the lead for the property.

Williams was chosen as the buyer in spring, 2013, though negotiations continued for weeks before the deal was completed and the transaction went public. Clayco announced it was hiring Frankfurt in December.

In a press release, Clayco announced Frankfurt would lead Clayco’s commercial development projects from the Chicago office and be responsible for build-to-suit and speculative commercial development across the U.S.

Williams then confirmed the hiring of Clayco in assisting in development of the OGE Energy Corp. headquarters earlier this year.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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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