Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Some OKC Urban Renewal Projects Full Speed Ahead, Others on Hold

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Some OKC Urban Renewal Projects Full Speed Ahead, Others on Hold

Article excerpt

Renewal will have to wait.

Although Devon Energy officials on Wednesday said there won't be any problems funding the company's proposed world headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City, other Urban Renewal projects are in a holding pattern. Developers said they're waiting for the economy to improve so they can secure financing, and are waiting for construction prices to decrease before moving ahead with their projects.

One of those, the Flatiron, a proposed office, retail, and residential project, is bordered by Harrison Avenue and Northwest Fifth Street.

Grant Humphreys, developer of the Flatiron, said his financing through BancFirst is still in place, but the project has been delayed by market uncertainty and pre-leasing requirements.

"We're giving ourselves a pretty open window on when we can get construction started," he said. "We plan to move forward with it as soon as we have our pre-leasing requirements met."

Presbyterian Health Foundation had the original redevelopment agreement from Urban Renewal for the site. Humphreys acquired the redevelopment rights from PHF, which he said has agreed to an extension for the project.

Initial financing requirements called for about 35 percent of the space to be pre-leased before construction.

"In today's market I would feel comfortable with that as a minimum and maybe look for half of it or more pre-leased," Humphreys said.

The project has gone through the full approval process from Urban Renewal and Humphreys said he plans to spend the first two quarters of 2009 marketing the project and hopes to have tenants lined up to be on track to start construction by June.

Urban Renewal Executive Director JoeVan Bullard said the Overholser Green project is also in limbo.

Developers Chuck Wiggin and David Huffman are set to redevelop an Urban Renewal block bordered by Northwest 12th and Northwest 13th streets, and Walker and Dewey avenues.

Their plan calls for 85 to 100 condominiums priced from about $250,000 to $400,000.

Bullard said the project is on hold because financing isn't available. …

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