American Residential Group to Transform Tulsa's Tribune Lofts into For-Sale Condominiums

Article excerpt

American Residential Group intends to transform the Tribune Lofts apartment complex into for-sale condominiums.

That marks a major shift for what many analysts called a "trailblazer" project. When launched in late 2001, this Brady District development was one of the first modern efforts to jumpstart residential living in downtown Tulsa.

"This is actually something I think has been a long time coming for the Tulsa market," said Raymond W. Lord, a principal and partner with NAI Commercial Properties of Tulsa. "I think it's a neat direction; I really do. I think obviously we're going to see a lot more of it."

Although ARG officials could not be reached for official comment, real estate analysts confirmed the move. The Tribune property offers 35 lofts over six floors immediately north of the railroad tracks, the units ranging from 704 to 2,288 square feet.

David Z. Forrest, the Tulsa multifamily broker for CB Richard Ellis of Oklahoma, said the change casts no negative reflections on the difficulties in cracking the downtown residential market, but an effort to maximize ARG's investment in the property.

"That's the only reason anybody does that," said Forrest. "That allows them to make the most dollars in the way they want to make those dollars."

Aaron Hargrove, the Tulsa market multifamily specialist for Commercial Realty Resources Co., suggested condo sales also would provide a higher return for that property than selling it as an apartment complex, even one like the Tribune Lofts that had operated with a waiting list for several years.

"It's not easy managing a small apartment complex," said Hargrove. "As a management company, you would be much more interested in running a 230-unit apartment complex as opposed to a 35-unit apartment complex. That may influence their thinking on the project.

"The guys that own that are smart and successful businessmen," he said. "I don't know if they've ever, that I've seen, made a bad decision."

The ARG move follows successful efforts by The Philtower LLC to convert floors 12-20 of The Philtower into condominiums, which the group completed and sold in less than a year. It also would act in advance of apartment and loft projects coming online over the next two years at the Sager Building and the Mayo Hotel.

Lord said moving now will give ARG a strong head-start in competition with these projects.

While ARG continues to lease units at Tribune Lofts, officials said the company's intention is to turn all units into condos. …